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Monday, March 16, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jessica Lappin, New York City Councilmember, 5th District Manhattan

Elected to the New York City Council in 2005, Jessica Lappin has emerged as one the Democratic Party’s rising stars and part of a new generation of leadership in New York. As Chair of the Council’s Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, Jessica is leading the fight to create a greener New York—adding three new parks and opening up previously inaccessible waterfront to the public. She has also played a key role in protecting the historic fabric of the city, encouraging safe and sensible development, and approving 12,000 new public school seats. Whom You Know endorses Jessica Lappin and is pleased to present her as a Mover and Shaker!

Praised by the New York Times for her “steely resolve, dedication and energy,” Jessica has spearheaded the City Council’s efforts to improve construction safety, drafting much of the legislation the City passed in the wake of last year’s tragic crane accidents.

Jessica has been a strong advocate for many important Council initiatives—from keeping our libraries open six days a week to protecting our police officers with better bulletproof vests to increasing transparency in city government.

Strongly pro-choice, she has also given voice to oft-neglected health care needs of women. Jessica represents part of the Manhattan’s East Side and Roosevelt Island. In addition to serving on the Land Use Committee, Jessica serves on the Education, Sanitation, Transportation, General Welfare, Standards & Ethics, and Oversight & Investigations Committees.

Jessica is a lifelong New Yorker and a graduate of New York City’s public schools. She received a Regents Diploma from Stuyvesant High School and a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude.

Jessica is married and lives in East Midtown with her husband and son. Recently she spoke with Peachy Deegan for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: When and how did you realize you were interested in politics?
Jessica Lappin: After spending a summer in Senator Moynihan's office.

What is the most rewarding part of being on the City Council?
Being able to directly help people solve their problems and pass laws that make our city safer and a better place to live, work and raise families.

What aspects of your position are not evident to most people, i.e. what do you do that could go unrealized or unnoticed?
Tackling basic of quality of life issues like filling potholes or changing street signs.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to help people solve problems and making their life a little better in the process.

As we imagine you don't have typical days, what is a typical week for you?
It's a real mix of Council hearings, meetings with constituents or advocacy groups, and community events. No two days are ever the same, which is something I love about my job.

What are your favorite responsibilities and why?
Being able to vote on behalf of 150,000 people. It's a tremendous responsibility and one that I feel very honored to have.

What is Mayor Bloomberg like to work with?
He is smart, opinionated, and tough.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
On the Brooklyn Bridge.

What is your favorite shop?
I am a foodie and love my local cheese shop, Ideal Cheese.

What is your favorite drink?
Chocolate egg cream

What is your favorite restaurant?

What is your favorite NYC book?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Go for a picnic in Central Park.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Most underrated is take out. Most overrated is celebrity spotting.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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