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Dromm targets jobs, healthcare and fair taxes

In a State of the District speech last Thursday, City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) not only touted his accomplishments in 2010, but outlined what he wants to do in the coming months. Dromm said his three main goals are to create a place where immigrants can get jobs, open a primary health-care center and change how the city’s wealthiest residents are taxed.

“I hope I was able to articulate and illustrate the work we’ve done over the last 15 months,” Dromm said.

More than 100 people crowded into the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights at 37-06 77th St. to listen to the councilman, whose district covers parts of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, LeFrak City, Corona, Rego Park and Woodside. Dromm was elected to the post in 2009 after defeating incumbent Democrat Helen Sears in the primary election and Mujib Rahman, who ran on the Republican ballot, in the general election.

Through a video and slideshow, Dromm showcased various initiatives he undertook throughout 2010 and early 2011, many of which centered around education, sanitation, open space and civil rights. In particular, Dromm highlighted his fight to add 600 school seats to the district, improvements in trash pickup, the opening of the new play street on 78th Street for the summer, his attempts to have the city buy the Garden School in Jackson Heights’ playground to increase park space and his allocation of funds for immigrant-related services.

The councilman also looked to the future. Dromm said he wants to create an Immigrant Opportunity Center, which would be specifically geared toward low-income wage workers and would focus on health and safety issues.

“Fighting for the rights of our immigrant community is probably the legacy I’d like to leave behind,” Dromm said.

He also said he wanted to create a primary health-care center since many residents are uninsured and end up using Elmhurst Hospital Center for primary care, a problem that has only worsened after the closing of St. John’s Hospital in 2009.

“We now have a recipe for disaster,” Dromm said.

Rather than letting the millionaire’s tax phase out, Dromm recommended that the millionaire’s tax be renewed and tax rates be rebalanced so those who have a greater income pay a fairer share. He said increased taxes would be a better way of balancing the budget because it would not force the city government to lay off workers, which would put a strain on the economy. He said increased spending would fund the creation of more jobs.

“We must maintain if not expand government spending,” Dromm said.

Valeria Treves, the executive director of NICE, had praise for Dromm’s plans.

“I think the three initiatives he’s taking on are very good,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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