Nationally speaking, 2024 is a big election year. While Biden versus Trump might be taking up all the oxygen, local elections are worthy of your time as well. This year sees races for state assembly, state senate, and district leader. Election day for the primaries is June 25, and early voting is already underway.

We’re kicking off another season of our election coverage, which for us always means interviews with each of the candidates running. As a reminder, Greenpointers does not take money for political ads, ensuring our independent coverage of the candidates. 

We spoke to Assembly Member Emily Gallagher to hear more about what she’s been up to in Albany over the past couple of years, and what she hopes to achieve in the years to come.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. 

As you look back at the end of another term, what are some of the accomplishments that stand out to you from the past two years?

It goes without saying that the passing of the LLC Transparency Act and the All-Electric Buildings Act were two legislative highlights for me. There’s been a lot of other things that I’ve fought for in collaboration with others that have been really exciting policies that we’ve passed. While it wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for, getting rental protections for non-rent stabilized tenants was a huge win, and I was really proud that I was able to work directly with my colleagues in the legislature to make sure that more buildings in Williamsburg and Greenpoint would be covered. Additionally, we were able to get protections for workers who are doing new construction so that they would get a higher wage working in our neighborhood. We’ve won historic investments in the MTA, and we also did the free bus pilot which, pending the kind of funding that we need to get from the MTA, we are gonna be able to hopefully bring more of that back.

While it is going to be a bit of a disruption, getting this investment in the G train and winning a G train czar, having a whole staff member that is accountable to us and looking after the function of the G train shutdown, that was a huge win that my office really took charge on. We really worked hard to get the MTA to create more accountability for that program.

We’ve gotten hundreds of people help staying in their homes, help with unemployment, help navigating bureaucratic situations. We’ve built incredible relationships with local non-profits. Those are things that we don’t talk about much publicly, because it’s private to the individuals who come to our office, and we respect that, but we had a lot of success winning for just everyday problems in our district.

The G train shutdown is approaching, which will make necessary improvements, but will also be a bit of a logistical pain for neighbors. At a recent town hall, the MTA and DOT presented their plan for how they will be handling it. What was your take on their plan? Do you think it went far enough in providing adequate alternatives for transportation? 

We really worked with the MTA and DOT to try to find the best resolutions. What I attempt to do in this work is throw forward the most ideal situation and work back from there. What do we want, and then, what can we get? Initially, we had been really advocating for a dedicated busway that would allow the shuttle bus to run much more swiftly. It was a non-starter. We were able to negotiate some interventions, like dedicated loading zones, which is gonna hopefully make a huge difference in both the loading and unloading on Manhattan Avenue for businesses, but also for residents who are getting picked up or dropped off by ride shares. I think that’s going to be a major improvement, and that’s something that will really be, in a way, a pilot as part of this, that I’m looking forward to.

We’ve also asked the MTA to step up the enforcement, because that’s usually what slows things down—somebody double-parks and has abandoned their car in the road, or a truck unloading somewhere. Helping to educate the folks using the road about the loading zones and enforcing that both on the bus—there’s going to be cameras on the bus that do automatic enforcement—and then there’s also going to be the 94th and 90th [precincts] involved in general enforcement of the traffic laws. 

This is something that I think we’ve made a best case scenario. Hopefully, it will move rather quickly, and we’ll get used to it in a week or two, and then it will only be four more weeks of that. My goal is to make it feel like a hiccup, not a total overwhelming situation. And that’s taken a lot of negotiation and communication and a strong relationship with the MTA and DOT, which I’ve built over these last four years, by being a strong ally to them. 

Something we hear a lot from neighbors are issues with rent and housing, which I know we spoke about with you in our last interview. Good Cause Eviction passed earlier this year, albeit in an altered form. And I know you recently introduced a bill that would establish the Social Housing Development Authority? What is social housing, and how would it affect our district?

Over a year’s worth of research, interviews, and studying went into the development of the bill by my legislative director and my team. We worked with folks from non-profits around housing, but also with underwriters, and developers, and other folks that have that information around how the housing market operates, and where we get into trouble for tenants. Where does the price get inflated, that sort of thing. 

The goal of the Social Housing Development Authority is to create, acquire, and renovate permanently affordable housing for public and community ownership using 100% union labor. This is based on housing that New York has developed before, especially during the New Deal, things like Mitchell-Lama rentals, cooperatives, places like Co-op City—there’s a lot of examples around this. 

Right now, we work with a development system that focuses on tax incentives. That’s where we really get into trouble because those are both expensive and inefficient. They cost New Yorkers around $2 billion in foregone tax revenue every year, and it basically subsidized private, mostly market rate housing, like the 421-a program. I fought very hard to change that. 485-x is a bit better, but it is still not the most efficient use of our tax money.

The way that this would work is that we would create a development authority that would be under state control, and it would be a more nimble version of what now exists in a number of different agencies. It would bring HPD [NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development], HCR [New York State Homes and Community Renewal], financing, all of these pieces that are now spread out and very hard to get to work together into one umbrella, where they would be able to work together and really utilizing a method that is very popular in Europe, of having a structure of financing that is cyclical.

It allows the community to use more community based planning and having the state play this role means that we’re going to get a more thought out system for communities that are being constructed. We already have lots of support from this, including from unions who are interested in the opportunity to invest in this kind of construction, so that their pensions are actually invested in the properties that they themselves are building and living in.

Political change is often slow-moving, but if reelected, what are some things you reasonably hope to achieve in the next two-year term?

One of the things I’m really focusing on is building Greenpoint’s resiliency and finding ways to finance expanding our sewer infrastructure. I’ve been working on some bills in Albany around that, and I’m looking at programs that incentivize non-permeable pavement that allow for folks to set rates based on the water that your property or street is generating in storm water. Thinking about diving into this issue of stormwater is something that’s always been an interest of mine but lately I would say it’s rapidly becoming a passion, because I’ve seen the incredible detriment that the neighborhood is experiencing, and it seems to be getting worse and worse, each time it rains, dealing with raw sewage.

There’s a lot that we can do around this water issue. We have a lot of issues with insurance companies moving out of the state because they don’t want to pay for the damage with flooding. We have issues with the infrastructure of the city, we’ve got issues with mold in buildings. I have a bill that changes who’s responsible for mold in private condominiums. 

Stormwater, flooding, and building out our resiliency is definitely our focus for this next go-round. Also this past session, our bill was on the floor, but died there, regarding something that would expand the state commission on corrections, which would allow for better inspecting and governing of our prisons and jails in the state which really needs an overhaul.

Your opponent says she’s running on a platform to restore unity in a community that she says has been divided over the past four years. Do you see this as a neighborhood divided?

No, I really don’t. We get folks from all different paths and lifestyles and experiences in our office. I have really strong relationships with a lot of different folks. I really don’t understand where this idea that the community is divided is coming from. Having sat on the community board and worked in neighborhood non-profits for a decade and a half before doing this job, I know that this community has always got things going on, and people have different opinions about them. There’s often arguing and debate around what should happen in the community. The only thing that’s changed is that for the first time in 50 years, somebody else is the state representative, and so I think there’s just a little bit of shock in people adjusting to having a different perspective in one of the driver’s seats. I don’t really see it, I think that it’s a bit of an exaggeration, and I hear from a lot of very happy people with our leadership. I’m not too concerned about that feedback. 

Is there anything else you want to communicate to voters?

My door is always open, and if they have something that they want to do, they should come and chat with us. I’m fighting for a vision of New York. I’m a proactive legislator, I’m not a reactive legislator. I’m building and fighting for and alongside a lot of other advocates, neighbors, and representatives for a New York where everyone has the resources to live a beautiful and dignified life, and that is the long and short of it.

I really am fighting every single day to make sure our neighborhood gets the investments that it deserves and that we need, and I am open for any ideas or any inspiration that folks have, I would love to hear from them. I am here, and I am ready, willing, and able to help people with whatever they need. 

Join the Conversation


  1. No questions about her parking habits? She accumulated $4,000 in parking tickets in 2.5 years, systematically blocking fire hydrants and she talks about more enforcement?

    Maybe Emily doesn’t see division since she surrounds herself with like-minded DSA individuals.
    She centered her work since Oct. 7th around taking care of Gaza residents rather listening and acting on the rise of antisemitism in our community (!)

  2. This is an absolute puff piece that does nothing to dive into how Gallagher’s style (i.e. utter lack of collaboration and compromise) IS actually dividing the neighborhood.

    You asked the question about dividing and then provided zero follow up to prod Gallagher about the divisive issues.

  3. No question about Gallagher’s refusal to debate? She can’t answer spontaneous questions from people with different viewpoints?
    Gallagher’s friend on CB1 tweeted anti-Polish hate speech last and Gallagher couldn’t be bothered to comment. No question about that either?

  4. I just want to say that I have had great constituent service from Emily’s office the one time I contacted them earlier this year.

    We emailed both Emily’s team and Lincoln Restler’s team on a Saturday afternoon. Emily’s team replied Monday morning and by Thursday had secured a detailed promise to address the issue from the NY State Parks department. That is great constituent service.

    I got an auto responder from Lincoln Restler and no followup. It has been about six weeks since that email. That is horrible constituent service.

    I am not a shill at all, and have issues with some of what she focuses on, but Emily earned my vote with going back to the basics: Good constituent services.

  5. i like her and look forward to voting for her again but the progressive tendency to replace “people,” with “folks,” is like nails on a chalkboard.

    love how she triggers the other losers in the comments though!

  6. She advocates for renter protections, pedestrian safety, and parks in this neighborhood; as such, she has my vote.

  7. Dear Brendan the Brave Keyboard Warrior, forgive us losers who disagree with her bad policies. Thank you for permitting us to post without your great approval.

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