Increasing Civic Engagement

As much as people want to be involved in decisions affecting their communities, with the competing demands of work, family and just getting by during these difficult times it can be hard to find time for civic engagement. But Salamanca knows that those who are struggling most to get by are exactly those who are most needed at the table to make the right decisions for improving the Bronx.  We need to meet people where they are and provide opportunities for civic engagement to improve our quality of life, help our communities, and make sure the Bronx gets its fair share of resources from New York City and State.

Salamanca got his start in public service at the ‘grassroots’ level of the Community Board because of a local matter that he thought could be handled more appropriately. That experience, and coming to understand the power of the platform afforded to the Community Board, led Salamanca to quickly realize the tremendous opportunity to weigh in on community decisions. But it also showed him the challenges of civic engagement for individuals holding down two jobs, struggling with childcare or other family’s needs, and just making a living to keep food on the table and a roof overhead.

As a Council Member, Salamanca shared his own personal experience to encourage interest in community board participation for our city’s next generation of leaders - our youth - from an early age. He has also empowered Community Boards, requiring any developers seeking his support to first to discuss the project with the Community Board to gain valuable community feedback. In addition, he has made sure Community Boards have the resources they need when formulating a decision, providing presentations on zoning requirements, area median incomes, height restrictions and design reviews, among other things. To further encourage civic engagement, Council Member Salamanca has been a consistent supporter of Participatory Budgeting, which allows District 17 residents, as young as age 11, to propose and vote on projects in the community that they would like funded. As a result of this civic engagement, numerous school projects have successfully won funding due to the actions plans created by our students.

Salamanca's Plan to Increase Civic Engagement

As a former Community Board Manager, Salamanca understands the importance of empowering the Community Boards of the Bronx. Salamanca will:

                 Address vacancies to ensure there is a 95% occupancy rate on every Community Board.

                 Ensure Community Boards reflect the diversity of their neighborhoods.

                 Address vacancies to ensure there is a 95% occupancy rate on every Community Board.

                 Encourage greater civic participation of younger residents by creating internships and other opportunities for students to learn about local government at all levels.

                 Encourage young people to apply to be on the Community Board. The minimum age is 16 years old and our young people are currently underrepresented.

Our right to vote is one of the most important sacred parts of our democracy. Here in the Bronx, we must do more to improve our voter turnout and encourage Bronx voters to actively engage in all elections, not just presidential elections every four years. Salamanca will:

                 Fight to increase the number of early voting sites and add ballot drop boxes to every poll site.

                 Host yearly voter registration drive, focusing on young voters.

                 Return poll sites to senior centers after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

                 Demand Albany continue universal vote-by-mail after the pandemic has ended.

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