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In Public Service- September 27, 2019

Velázquez demands answers from National Grid

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez is leading an effort by seven members of New York City’s congressional delegation to get answers from National Grid as to when the company plans to restore service to 2,600 customers who are currently being denied gas.

The lawmakers wrote a letter to National Grid demanding a timeline of service restoration.

National Grid officials have stated that unless the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grants a permit to construct a new gas pipeline between New York and New Jersey, the company will be unable to provide gas hookups to new customers.

“Regardless of the reason, as the weather gets colder, it becomes even more pressing that service be restored. Today, we are calling on National Grid to provide a detailed plan about how it will get gas flowing again to these Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island residents and small businesses. I’ve heard from small restaurants in my district that have had to keep their doors shut because they don’t have gas to operate,” said Velázquez, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

The letter was also signed by U.S. Reps. Gregory Meeks, Max Rose, Yvette Clarke, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Meng, and Jose Serrano.

Ortiz marches with students

Assemblymember Felix Ortiz participated in the Red Hook Youth Climate Action, part of the Global Climate Strike that took place on Sept. 20 in which millions of young people in cities all over the world held protest marches to demand action on climate change.

“It was inspiring to see thousands of local students support the health of our planet. The effects of climate change have been felt by people in our community, state, country and world. The time for action is now and these students know it,” Ortiz wrote in a newsletter to constituents.

Ortiz, a Democrat representing Red Hook, Sunset Park and parts of Bay Ridge, recently received a perfect score of 100 percent from the New York League of Conservation Voters for his voting record on environmental issues.

Deutsch warns of phone scams

Councilmember Chaim Deutsch is urging residents to beware of phone scams waged by crooks eager to steal money.

“You may not know it, but you’ve probably been the target of a phone scam at least once in your life,” Deutsch said in a statement. “Anyone can be a victim of one of these scams. The callers can often be convincing, they have valid sounding credentials, and they somehow know personal information about you that makes it sound legitimate.” 

Deutsch, a Democrat representing Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach, described the types of scams out there.

“Your phone rings, and you answer, even though you don’t recognize the number. The person on the other end then delivers the bad news: ‘You’re being audited by the IRS’ or ‘You owe thousands on your National Grid bill’ or ‘Your granddaughter has been kidnapped and she needs you to wire money immediately for her rescue’ or even ‘You’ve just won the lottery — here’s how to claim your prize.’” 

The best defense, according to Deutsch, is to follow your instincts. “Trust your instincts. If something sounds unusual, fishy or too good to be true, hang up the phone,” he said. “Never give personal information over the phone, including your account details, credit card information or Social Security numbers,” he said.

Jeffries wins Allegheny College award

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was named a winner of the 2019 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life on Sept. 27. Jeffries, a Democrat representing downtown Brooklyn, Canarsie and Coney Island, won the award with U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Georgia.

The two men were honored for their bipartisan work in criminal justice.

Brought together by their shared Baptist faith and a love of music, Collins and Jeffries have worked together on several pieces of bipartisan legislation.

“Congressman Collins has a head for the work and a heart for the people. I think that combination really made it clear he’d be a great partner to try to get some things done here in Congress. I am honored to call him a friend and grateful for this honor,” said Jeffries said in a statement.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge praised both men.

“Crossing what at first appear to be impossible political and personal divides, a proud Trump Republican and progressive Brooklynite have shown us what true civility looks like,” Ridge stated.

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