DiscoverFuture HindsightVoters Are the Boss: Jessica Gonzalez Rojas
Voters Are the Boss: Jessica Gonzalez Rojas

Voters Are the Boss: Jessica Gonzalez Rojas

Update: 2024-05-30
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Jessica González Rojas, New York State Assembly Member representing the 34th District, joins Future Hindsight to discuss the state budget and its impact on her constituents. She highlights key areas of focus, including housing, food insecurity, and healthcare. González Rojas emphasizes the importance of state government in addressing these issues, explaining how state laws and policies can directly affect daily lives. She discusses the challenges of navigating a complex system and the importance of building coalitions and working across the aisle to achieve progress. González Rojas also emphasizes the importance of voter engagement and encourages listeners to contact their elected officials and advocate for the issues they care about. The episode concludes with a discussion about the upcoming election and the importance of electing representatives who will fight for the needs of their communities.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces Future Hindsight, a podcast that focuses on civic life and democracy, and its host, Mila Atmos. The episode begins with a brief introduction to the topic of the election and the importance of state politics in shaping American democracy.

00:01:07
Jessica González Rojas: New York State Assembly Member

This Chapter introduces Jessica González Rojas, New York State Assembly Member representing the 34th District in New York City. She discusses her experience as an Assembly Member and the challenges of navigating a complex system while advocating for the needs of her constituents. González Rojas highlights the importance of building coalitions and working across the aisle to achieve progress on issues such as housing, healthcare, and food insecurity.

00:20:02
Advertisement

This Chapter is an advertisement for a podcast called "What the Health." The advertisement highlights the podcast's focus on health and health policy news and its commitment to providing clear and concise information.

00:20:48
Basement Legalization Bill

This Chapter focuses on the basement legalization bill, which was passed in the state budget but only included 15 out of 59 districts in New York City. González Rojas discusses the bill's purpose, the compromise that led to its limited scope, and her efforts to expand the program to include more neighborhoods.

00:24:52
Reproductive Freedom and Equity

This Chapter delves into the issue of reproductive freedom and equity in New York. González Rojas discusses the passage of the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, which removed abortion from the penal code and placed it in the public health code. She also discusses the Equal Rights Amendment, which was declared null and void by the New York Supreme Court but is expected to be appealed. González Rojas highlights the importance of enshrining reproductive rights in the state Constitution and discusses the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Fund Act, which was passed in the budget to provide funding for abortion providers and patients.

00:33:17
Reelection and Future Goals

This Chapter focuses on González Rojas's reelection campaign and her priorities for the future. She discusses the importance of addressing food insecurity, housing, and healthcare in her district. González Rojas highlights her commitment to expanding healthcare access for undocumented immigrants and emphasizes the importance of voter engagement and communication with elected officials.

00:44:01
Preview of Next Week's Episode

This Chapter previews the next episode of Future Hindsight, which will feature Mediba Denny, an attorney, columnist, and professor whose work focuses on fostering an equitable multi-racial democracy. The episode will discuss Denny's new book, "The Originalism Trap," and the importance of inclusive democracy.

Keywords

Jessica González Rojas
Jessica González Rojas is a New York State Assembly Member representing the 34th District in New York City. She is a strong advocate for her constituents and has worked to address issues such as housing, healthcare, and food insecurity. She is known for her commitment to building coalitions and working across the aisle to achieve progress.

New York State Budget
The New York State Budget is a comprehensive document that outlines the state's spending priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. It is a complex process that involves negotiations between the State Assembly, the State Senate, and the Governor. The budget is often a source of debate and compromise, as different stakeholders advocate for their priorities.

Housing Crisis
The housing crisis is a widespread problem in New York City and across the state. It is characterized by high rents, limited affordable housing options, and a growing number of people experiencing homelessness. The crisis is exacerbated by factors such as gentrification, income inequality, and a lack of investment in affordable housing.

Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is a serious problem that affects millions of people in the United States, including in New York. It refers to the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity can be caused by factors such as poverty, unemployment, and limited access to affordable food.

Healthcare Access
Healthcare access is a fundamental human right that is essential for the health and well-being of individuals and communities. In the United States, healthcare access is often limited by factors such as cost, insurance coverage, and geographic location. The lack of healthcare access can lead to poor health outcomes, increased healthcare costs, and social inequities.

Voter Engagement
Voter engagement is the active participation of citizens in the electoral process. It includes activities such as registering to vote, casting a ballot, and advocating for candidates and policies. Voter engagement is essential for a healthy democracy, as it ensures that the voices of all citizens are heard and represented.

Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972 but failed to be ratified by the required number of states. In recent years, there has been a renewed push to ratify the ERA, with several states passing resolutions in support of the amendment.

Reproductive Freedom
Reproductive freedom is the right of individuals to make their own decisions about their bodies and reproductive health, including access to contraception, abortion, and prenatal care. Reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right that is essential for gender equality and social justice.

Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is a health care reform law enacted in the United States in 2010. The ACA aims to expand health insurance coverage, improve the quality of care, and reduce healthcare costs. The law has been the subject of much debate and controversy, with supporters arguing that it has expanded access to healthcare and opponents arguing that it has increased costs and reduced choice.

Undocumented Immigrants
Undocumented immigrants are people who are living in a country without legal authorization. They may have entered the country illegally or their legal status may have expired. Undocumented immigrants face a number of challenges, including discrimination, fear of deportation, and limited access to services such as healthcare, education, and employment.

Q&A

  • What are some of the key issues that Jessica González Rojas is focusing on in her district?

    González Rojas is focused on addressing food insecurity, housing, and healthcare in her district. She recognizes that these are the issues that most impact her constituents' daily lives.

  • How does the state budget impact the lives of New Yorkers?

    The state budget determines how state funds are allocated, which directly affects the availability of resources for programs and services that impact New Yorkers' daily lives, such as housing, healthcare, and education.

  • What is the importance of voter engagement in shaping state policies?

    Voter engagement is crucial because it allows citizens to hold their elected officials accountable and advocate for the issues they care about. By contacting their representatives, attending lobbying days, and participating in the electoral process, citizens can influence the direction of state policies.

  • What is the Equal Rights Amendment and why is it important?

    The Equal Rights Amendment aims to enshrine equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex in the New York State Constitution. This would provide a stronger legal foundation for protecting reproductive rights and ensuring equality for all individuals.

  • How does the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Fund Act help to expand access to reproductive healthcare?

    The act provides funding for abortion providers to address capacity needs, such as hiring staff and upgrading technology. It also provides funding for uncompensated care for those who are underinsured and need access to abortion care.

  • What are some ways that everyday citizens can get involved in advocating for state policies?

    Citizens can contact their elected officials, attend lobbying days, and write in support of or against specific bills. They can also participate in advocacy groups and organizations that focus on issues they care about.

  • What gives Jessica González Rojas hope for the future of democracy?

    González Rojas is hopeful about the future because of the increasing engagement of young people in civic life and their commitment to addressing issues such as climate change and social justice. She sees their activism as a sign of a vibrant and engaged democracy.

  • How does the state government's role in addressing issues like housing, healthcare, and food insecurity differ from the federal government's role?

    While the federal government sets broad policies and provides funding, state governments have the power to implement and expand upon those policies to better meet the specific needs of their communities. For example, the state can create programs to address housing affordability or expand healthcare access beyond federal guidelines.

  • What are some of the challenges that Jessica González Rojas faces as an Assembly Member?

    González Rojas faces challenges in navigating a complex system with competing interests and priorities. She also faces the challenge of working with a diverse range of constituents who may have differing opinions on various issues. Despite these challenges, she remains committed to advocating for the needs of her community.

  • What is the significance of the basement legalization bill and its limited scope?

    The bill represents a step towards addressing the issue of illegal basement apartments, which are often unsafe and overcrowded. However, the limited scope of the pilot program highlights the challenges of achieving comprehensive solutions to complex issues, as well as the need for continued advocacy and negotiation to expand the program's reach.

Show Notes

Jessica Gonzalez Rojas is the New York State Assembly Member representing the 34th District in New York City. We discuss the New York State budget and how she represents her constituents on housing, food insecurity, and healthcare.

 

The number one issue for constituents is housing, ranging from vermin problems and bad landlords to high rents. Food insecurity became more apparent during the pandemic and continues to be rampant. Access to healthcare is still uneven and passing the New York Health Act is critical. The Assembly Member listens to and acts upon the needs of her constituents in the State Legislature. 

 

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Read the transcript here:  

https://www.futurehindsight.com/episodes/voters-are-the-boss-jessica-gonzalez-rojas 



Credits: 

Host: Mila Atmos 

Guests: Jessica Gonzalez Rojas

Executive Producer: Mila Atmos

Producer: Zack Travis

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Voters Are the Boss: Jessica Gonzalez Rojas

Voters Are the Boss: Jessica Gonzalez Rojas

Future Hindsight