16 and 17 Year Olds Now Eligible For Community Boards, Diaz Jr. Praises Decision

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) and Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) announced a new law they authored to lower the minimum age of appointment to a New York City Community Board from eighteen-years-old to sixteen-years-old. Governor Cuomo signed the legislation into law and it is effective immediately.

The legislation was first introduced in the State Legislature in 2008. This year the City Council passed Resolution 0115 in support of the legislation.“

New York City’s 59 Community Boards will now open up their application process to sixteen- and-seventeen-year olds and their ability to contribute will be evaluated, just as other prospective members’ qualifications are evaluated.

Borough President Ruben Diaz. Jr, whose office runs the Community Board program in the borough, had this to say:

“Not only will this new law expand the opportunities for young people, it will also allow for each board’s youth committee to hear from the community they serve. I was involved in civic activity in my teenage years, and I know how important it is for our young people to have a voice within the official process. This new law will allow us to create such opportunities, and I am proud to support this incredible expansion of our community boards’ membership,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Sarah Andes, NYC Site Director for Generation Citizen said, “This is a great step forward for the people of New York City. Our communities are strongest when their leaders hear from a diverse range of voices, and young people have an important perspective to share.”

Other elected from around the city weighed in:

“This new law will empower our youth and give them the chance to offer their perspective on a variety of issues in their communities,” said Assemblywoman Rozic, who served on a CB in her mid-20s. (She’s in her late 20s and one of the youngest members of the State Assembly). “By lowering the age of eligibility, we are opening up the potential to transform community boards, reach out to our young people in a positive way, and involve them in the democratic process as soon as possible.”

Manhattan’s Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh said, “We know that many teenagers are ready and able to participate in civic life. With this new law they’ll finally have a chance to experience the opportunities and challenges of taking a seat on one of our most important local institutions: the Community Board. I congratulate and thank Senator Lanza and especially Assemblymember Rozic—who has championed this bill and the cause of youth empowerment for many years—for getting this done!”

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