Is This New York’s Next Mayor? Michel Faulkner is ready to fix your problems.

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Community Magazine had the opportunity to interview Michel Faulkner on his vision and platform.

CM: What inspired you to run for Mayor of New York City?

MF:I feel like the far-left progressive agenda has bullied New Yorkers, particularly the poor, by engaging them in the politics of division. Currently, there’s no way for the poorer of New York to have a pathway to the middle class. We need a leader who can help.

CM: Can you elaborate on your support for school choice?

MF:I have supported school choice, vouchers and charter schools since the early ‘90s. In 2007, I sued the State of New York on behalf of my church, to overturn the Blaine Amendment, which prohibits state funds for schools with a religious foundation. Overturning that would help the Jewish community. Why can’t my church sponsor a charter school? A lot of people look at this law and say they can’t believe it was ever written. It was an anti-Catholic law. It really needs to be stricken from the books. De Blasio has reversed a lot of the work that Bloomberg did in terms of school progress.I want to do everything possible to make sure that families have the freedom of educational choice.

CM: Speaking of education, New York kids are slipping academically. Can you recommend creative solutions that might address the problem?

MF:In every community that’s undergoings a problem, I believe there’s a community leader with the solution; he simply lacks the resources to bring those solutions to market. We’re going to replicate best practices to come to his aid.

I’ll give you an example. We ran an after school homework assistance program in our church, with ten kids as members. They were failing, destined to repeat the grade. All of their teachers said they were below standard, and wouldn’t be able to pass the standardized test given each year.

After four months, all ten passed the grade and passed the standardized test. In fact, three were offered special placement because they had excelled so much.What did we do? We gave them homework assistance. It’s not rocket science. That’s one solution.

One size does not fit all, but if we did that hundreds of times, we could make serious changes. And by the way, we didn’t get any government money to run the program. We got a little help from a not-for-profit that assists churches; they matched what we put in.We have to make sure our children are equipped to compete on a global scale, to meet academic standards, to compete at college, to eventually compete in the workplace.

CM: What, in your opinion, is a big concern for New Yorkers?

MF: A huge problem is affordable housing. We’ve got to crack that code. We’ve got to have a methodology. We have to do something to bring real affordable housing to as many people as we can.

Ido not believe the government should create, or manage, housing. There has to be market-driven solutions. For about a dozen years property taxes have spiked, which has caused the middle class in New York to leave for other parts of the country. We have to control taxes.

The problem has been that high taxes were imposed to pay for out-of-control government spending. You can’t attract or retain businesses with punishing taxes. The consequences have meant a loss of business growth, a loss of tax collection, and a loss of jobs in New York. There is too much of a high cost to doing business in, and living in, New York. This has to change.

CM: What about crime and
law enforcement?

MF:We need more police-community  relations. We started the Blue Ribbon Campaign nearly two years ago. We wear a blue ribbon to signify our support in three ways: affirmation, appreciation
and accountability.

When crime dropped in the 90s, it wasn’t just Rudy Giuliani’s bravado or the Broken Windows theory. Citizens of New York embraced the fact that their quality of life had to be better. And there was a total buy-in.

I will lead the city to a total buy-in, to a total better relationship with our law enforcement officers.The system isn’t broken. What we need is a mayor who affirms and appreciates cops.One of my first orders of business will be to redo the police station houses. Some of their workplace conditions are just horrible. I learned this when I was on the Police Community Relations Task Force.

CM: Let’s suppose de Blasio is appointed for another four years. What can people expect?

MF:Excellent question. Higher crime, higher taxes, lower graduation rates for high schoolers. It’s a shame that in spite of the amount of money we spend on our educational system – nearly $23,000 per student per year, irrespective of level – about 30%, on average, don’t finish school.We have to find a more efficient way to spend our tax money.Right now, the high school drop out rate is high. That’ll lead to more crime and unemployment.

The city spending for administration has doubled in recent years to over $80 billion.

All of the good that this city can do isn’t being done, because we don’t have a leader.

Four more years of de Blasio would be a total train wreck.

CM: In your opinion, what aspect of your resume should be most appealing to voters?

MF: I have a thirty-year track record of helping the disadvantaged and downtrodden.

I’ve created jobs as an entrepreneur. I’ve done a significant amount of work in my community. No other mayoral candidate can say they’ve dealt with the same nitty-gritty in New York City. No one else has the roots, coalitions, message and work ethic that I do. That has been my mantra, my acumen – my service. That will be what communicates to voters.

CM: Where do you stand
on Israel?

MF:Israel has no greater ally than the Evangelical Christian community, of which I am a part.There are three flags in my house: The American flag, the Puerto Rican flag, and the Israeli flag. I’ve attended or spoken at every Israel rally that has taken place in the past ten years – and I have visited Israel too.I’m very mindful of the fact that the Jewish people are under global threat.

Wherever there is hate in New York City, we will stomp it out. In New York City, our diversity is our strength, our heritage.It would be an honor for me to serve this city.