Rebecca Seawright, Built for Our Times and Places

Rebecca Seawright, Built for Our Times and Places

The first time I ran into Rebecca Seawright was at a candidates’ forum during her first run in 2014. She was up against four men, one of whom had an economic plan so brilliant that it earned national attention. But when Seawright took the podium to make her case, she stood out as the most grounded and insightful. A young Hillary Clinton in the works, I thought.

She beat all four men in the election and has been our popular state assembly member ever since. There are plenty of good reasons.

by David Stone

SPONSORED: The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Rebecca Seawright enjoyed Roosevelt Island Day with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in 2021.

The Most Important Truth About Rebecca Seawright

If there’s one thing you need to know about Rebecca Seawright, it’s that she’s… how do I put it…? Yeah, she’s there. By this, I mean she is not the typical politician because there is so little evasion with her.

Ducking, dodging, speaking in soundbites and sending others out as surrogates are common tactics. With Seawright, if she has a surrogate, she drags him or her along for reference, but she talks without a filter. Some public figures need ones, but she doesn’t.

Seawright is clear in her thinking and open in a discussion. What’s more, she doesn’t wait. She engages you, eager to listen and absorb.

For Roosevelt Island, that has meant repeatedly advancing legislation aimed at increasing public engagement with RIOC and forcing the state agency to set some roots on Main Street.

Specifically this year, it meant passing bills tightening board member residency and requiring the top officer to live in the community she or he serves.

She’s there, and it’s rare.

That tells you she’s sure of herself and unafraid of being second-guessed. It also says she’s honest and confident. All leaders should be like that, but in politics, they are not.

Seawright at the ribbon-cutting for the Tata Innovation Center at Cornell Tech in 2017.

Eight Years On

It’s a funny coincidence that I launched the Roosevelt Island Daily almost simultaneously with the start of Seawright’s political career. She’s gotten more done, but I’ve enjoyed watching. And sometimes getting on her case.

Here’s how her campaign rings up her accomplishments…

“Rebecca fights for our community through major environmental and sustainability initiatives such as her sponsorship of the Clean Waterways Fund, signed into law by the Governor; and the Sponsorship and passage of air quality monitoring legislation to mitigate the impacts of a waste transfer station at East 91st Street.

“Rebecca is a leading advocate for affordable housing and landmark housing reform laws to abolish vacancy decontrol and restrict rent hikes.

“She has proudly introduced legislation, now signed into law to streamline the Board of Elections, and continues to cosponsor and strongly support measures to run elections efficiently, accurately, and with integrity to protect our voting rights.

“Her bills have been signed into law capping annual fees from lenders, implementing a study on consumer financial literacy, requiring health insurance policies to include 3-D Mammography at no cost to the consumer; encouraging greater representation of women on corporate boards; and identifying how many policy-making positions are held by women in the New York State Government.

Rebecca Seawright was front and center when Nisi opened after a three-year shutdown.

Inspired to renew the movement for the federal Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee that our rights are anchored in our State and US Constitutions, she authored and passed in the Assembly an Equal Rights Amendment to our New York State Constitution.

 Rebecca Seawright Recognized by Those Who Care

Seawright is the recipient of…

  • The Met’s 13th Annual Women’s Award ’20
  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Fearless Girl Award ‘19
  • A Place to Be(ad) Me Honoree ‘19
  • Super Happy Healthy Kids Black Tie Gala Honoree ‘19
  • James Dudley Luce Foundation Humanitarian of the Year ‘19
  • Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Elizabeth Rohatyn Award ‘17
  • The New York Board of Rabbis Humanitarian of the Year ‘15
  • Schnepps Media Power Women of Manhattan, 2020
  • Women’s eNews21 Leaders for the 21st Century, 2021

But that goes both ways.

And Rebecca Seawright was there when Wendy Hersh was finally able to cut the ribbon opening the FDR Hope Memorial after a decade long effort.

Every year, Seawright calls out ten Women of Distinction in her district, honoring them in a way that proclaims a new era in diversity and influence.

Conclusion

She is, as the title of this post suggests, built for our times and tireless. If we’re lucky, Rebecca Seawright will be around for a long time to remind us what public service is all about.

Rebecca Seawright is a state assemblywoman representing the 76th district, which includes the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island

To learn more about Rebecca Seawright, visit her website.

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