N.Y. City Council Member and Amazon Opponent Doesn't Mind Being Called a 'Job Killer'

February 11, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is owning his status as one of the so-called "job killers" trying to chase Amazon out of Queens.

"We should fight for jobs, but we should fight for jobs on our terms, consistent with our values," said Van Bramer, who represents New York's 26th district, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside, and Woodside.

Alongside local leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y. State Sen. Michael Gianaris, and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Van Bramer has emerged as a vocal opponent of Amazon's planned outpost in Long Island City and the 25,000 new jobs that would come with it, despite initially signing a 2017 letter inviting CEO Jeff Bezos and his company to the city.

Van Bramer said he had a change of heart after details of the deal emerged, which include more than $3 billion in state and local incentives. He also expressed serious concerns with Amazon's ($AMZN) anti-union stance and its refusal to disclose whether it would cooperate ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to target illegal immigrants.

"The mayor and the governor conspired with Amazon to say, 'We are not going to do this the way we normally do it,'" Van Bramer said. "The more that you learn about them, the less you would ever go along with this deal. I knew none of those things when I signed the letter."

Now, he's attempting to galvanize fellow "progressive Democrats," to stand alongside him.

"Many of us who are progressive Democrats in this city and in this country right now are incredibly concerned about these issues. So if you want to be a progressive Democrat ー in the progressive wing of the Democratic party ー then you shouldn't be supporting this deal," Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer's comments follow a Washington Post report on Friday that said Amazon may be reconsidering its decision to move to New York, amid community opposition.

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