In 2013, Carlos Menchaca became New York State’s first Mexican-American elected official and Brooklyn’s first openly gay office holder. He represents City Council District 38 which includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights, and portions of Borough Park, Dyker Heights and Windsor Terrace.
Menchaca has authored more than 80 pieces of legislation, of which 24 have been approved, and he is co-sponsor of 625 legislative items, of which 277 have been approved. Recent legislative items he has introduced include proposals to protect workers with apprenticeship training, to punish predatory landlords, and to improve street safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
Menchaca wrote the legislation for New York’s first municipal identification card, IDNYC, which is now held by more than one million residents.
As Chair of the Committee on Immigration, Menchaca led negotiations that funded the nation’s largest public defender program for undocumented immigrants, and for the greatest city allocation in recent history for adult literacy services. He has supported innovative programs for immigrant day laborers, street vendors, and worker cooperatives. His committee hearings have included an examination of the essential public service offered by local and ethnic media and threats to the City’s diverse media outlets.
Menchaca’s commitment to direct democracy is shown in his annual allocation of more than $2 million to Participatory Budgeting (PB), whereby residents nominate and vote for capital budget projects. In 2017 for the fourth year in a row District 38 produced the highest number of PB voters citywide, and welcomed voting by all residents regardless of immigration status, including, for the first time, middle school students.
A champion for the neighborhoods in his district, Menchaca has successfully defended job-creating manufacturing zones from residential development. He has fought gentrification and displacement through street protest, support of tenant advocates, and through legislation that extends tenants’ rights including the right to counsel in housing court.
Council Member Menchaca is a leading voice defending immigrants’ rights, and promoting New York City’s Sanctuary movement. He sees criminal justice reform and ending Broken Windows policing as integral to Sanctuary efforts.
Photo: Carlos Menchaca's Facebook page