State Senate District 34 candidate profile: John Perez

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John Perez shares an ice cream with his daughter.
Photo courtesy John Perez

The following is a Q&A with John Perez, candidate for the state’s 34th Senate District, which encompasses the east Bronx neighborhoods of City Island, Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay, Middletown, Country Club, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Clason Point and part of Morris Park, as well as the southern Westchester communities of Pelham, Pelham Manor and part of New Rochelle.

Name: John Perez

Age: 54

Occupation: Retired Army officer

Residence: Van Nest

Party affiliation: Democrat

One thing the average voter doesn’t know about you: “I make various types of homemade tomato sauce and pastas at home with my daughter and often cook meals together.”

Q. What is the biggest single issue facing the district?

A. Crime is at the top of the list, it doesn’t discriminate by gender nor age. This crime culture must be eradicated or come with a huge penalty regardless of the same (gender or age). I will address this culture without fear and stand firm with my boots on the ground.

Q. The Bronx continues to be the leader in unemployment with the highest rate of joblessness of any county in New York state, based on the latest Labor Department data. What can be done to encourage job creation in the borough?

A. Training. We can agree that training, experience and qualifications are the building blocks of the marketing manpower; however it is not applied in our inner city. The talk sounds great specifically during campaign season, but that’s where it stays. I have proposed to many currently elected officials a program that will provide a future for our young adults. Trade school in partnership with our skilled laborers and unions that will provide classroom and hands-on training for the designated developments coming into our districts and the city as a whole.

Chart courtesy latfor.state.ny.us

Q. The state Legislature has been reluctant to address its bail reform laws that were enacted in 2020, despite repeated calls from law enforcement, business owners and even some Democrats, most notably Eric Adams. With the perception that New York City has become “soft on crime,” what do you think should be done so that residents of this city feel safe?

A. This historic failure is a direct result of poor leadership and vision. This failure is not just in New York but a well-planned strategy across the U.S. Some states refused the entire agenda but most with high-volume communities of color it has been fully embraced. As your senator, my No. 1 bill will be to require the state Senate and Assembly to conduct, attach and publish a risk assessment with any bill introduced for consideration before a vote.

Q. How would you structure health care in the state; do you support universal health care?

A. Yes, I support universal health care. This is often called the “single-payer” system and it’s not a new system. This system is modeled after the Veterans Administration Hospital.

Q. The pandemic exposed what has been a looming mental health crisis. What steps would you take to address mental health in this state from a legislative standpoint and does it require additional funding?

A. Mental health can be identified, interrupted and controlled in its early stages. Certainly, some have been addressed and people go on to live normal lives. However, mental heath has different origins, domestic violence, child abuse, child sexual assault, drugs, alcohol and parents that are worthless and uneducated projecting their own failed and angry lives on to their children that mimic that behavior. Addressing these issues at its core will significantly reduce this crisis.

Q. What differentiates you from your opponents and how would you better serve your constituents, if elected?

A. I stand on my own merits, my accomplishments as well as my failures.
-compiled by Bronx Times staff

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