In his seven years on the New York City Council, Council Member David Yassky has been a leading voice for reform, accountability and innovation. The New York Times recently praised David for his "stellar record on the Council, leading groundbreaking work on gun control, affordable housing, the environment and jobs creation."
As Chair of the Council's Small Business Committee, David has been a force for job creation and economic development. His legislative accomplishments include the Film Industry Job Creation Act, which is credited with bringing thousands of jobs to New York's film and television studios. He also pushed through a small business tax cut, formulated a plan to make Downtown Brooklyn the City's third major business district, created an Industrial Jobs Retention program to fund dedicated, low-cost space for manufacturing firms, and helped expand the cruise ship industry in New York.
David has also used his seat on the Council to fight for accountability and fiscal responsibility. He passed the False Claims Act to help root out corruption by rewarding whistleblowers who report the misuse of taxpayer dollars, exposed millions of dollars of waste at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and put forward an aggressive plan to end the abuse of earmarks in the budget process. His willingness to get tough on waste, inefficiency and fraud led Errol Louis of the New York Daily News to call David a "budget hawk," who "understands how serious government waste has become."
David's environmental record is unmatched on the Council because he understands that long-term growth can only exist in conjunction with environmental sustainability. His numerous accomplishments include his innovative program for clean-fuel taxicabs that got hybrid cabs on the road, which led Mayor Michael Bloomberg to say that David is leading the environmental fight in New York City. He sued Exxon-Mobil to force a cleanup of the Greenpoint oil spill, and issued a report on illegal dumping in New York waterways, which led to the prosecution of one of the City's worst polluters. He also drafted the Waterfront Planning Act, which the New York City League of Conservation Voters called "the most important piece of waterfront legislation adopted by the City in recent years."
David has been an outspoken advocate for education reform and recently co-chaired the Council's task force on school governance. His advocacy in the area of affordable housing includes creating thousands of moderately priced apartments through his Affordable Housing Zoning Initiative.
Before his election to the Council, Yassky had a distinguished career as a public servant, lawyer and educator. As Chief Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Crime under Chuck Schumer, he helped enact the Brady Law, the Assault Weapons Ban, the Violence Against Women Act, the 100,000 Cops on the Beat Law, and more than a dozen other significant anti-crime statutes. At the time, he was the youngest Committee or Subcommittee Chief Counsel in the House of Representatives.
After serving under Representative Schumer, David joined the private sector, practicing corporate law and working with major financial institutions on complex regulatory and legal issues. He also served as a budget analyst for New York City's Office of Management and Budget, where he developed a comprehensive understanding of the city's intricate budgeting process and deep knowledge of how the City spends taxpayers' money.
David earned his B.A. at Princeton University, and his J.D. at Yale Law School. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Diana, and their daughters Susan and Margaret.