Call Your Representatives With Steven Raga, Chief of Staff for District 30 of the NY State Assembly
In town y'all six cast Yo. What's going on? Welcome to another episode of six ninety nine per pound podcast where we usually talk about careers would. What's going on in the world right now? We have shifted our focus to the real impact of the nineteen on Asians in this country and around the world. You know we find it very important to tell these stories. The virus might affect everyone but it has had a disproportionate impact on Asian American communities. So we're going to bring you perspectives of people. Asian people in different professions in places to give you a personal look at. How does pandemic became more Dennis Symptom of the body? So thank you to all the fans out there for listening. Continue to support us. Please subscribe to get all for more information on Our covert cove nineteen religious episodes. Make sure to tell a friend to tell a friend in a socially distant way without said you can now supported by buying me and Joe Joe with three dollars at Keio Dash F I dot com slash six ninety nine per pound or you can be a monthly donator at Anchor Dot FM slash six ninety nine per pound slash support. No I'm saying so what I said. Joe Joe. Do you want to introduce a very special guest today? Yes I was left to. So this is all about Learning more about the impact of coded Nineteen Through culture through community so we wanted to bring in special guests to talk about it in terms of constituents and how they can interact on the local government level. So we're talking to our first Filipino. American ever to serve and the New York State Assembly Stephen Raga Cheese chief-of-staff read the Assembly district. Thirty Place Shakey's. Mary familiar with apparently just before restarted. Jackie and Stephen were spitballing with our favorite Filipino restaurants. So we'll make sure to shot them all out for everyone. Welcome welcome welcome Stephen to the podcast. We can't wait to hear your insights into all of these things And Yeah let's just kick it off right now Yeah thanks for having me on guys. excited to be here especially during this this this crazy time rent for Schuermann. I mean Stephen so before we go ahead man. I mean you say you Filipino and you you represent a district out in Queens. Can you kind of like tell us exactly which district you represent. Sure sure so. All for work on US chief of staff or district thirty so it's pretty wide. It goes through a few neighborhoods so on the west side. We have lawn city on the east side. Our out in middle village so everything in between. That's sunnyside story would side and and masochist. So it's a really wide array of folks of political ideologies even and different cultures and backgrounds. So it's kind of fun going to work every day seeing how we can help out the community for sure. Wow that's crazy. Yeah and I remember just before we started recording. We got rid of gems but I Shaky initially was like. Oh my gosh I kind of totally grew up in this area and Steven. You're saying oh it's actually interesting. The way to kind of create the lines so the districts that should feel like it should be in. This district doesn't end up that way and you said that When you zoom out there's a lot of people with a lot of different ideologies in one's kind of motley drawn place. Can you explain? Like how district lines are drawn. Yes so of for for the most part. First and foremost it's a lot of is due to a population count. So that's why the sense. It's really important years so why this year is a big absolutely so it's a big effort especially get more immigrant communities more people have come out and vote for that because that's how they're going to redistrict the lines on your local state and congressional representatives. Last time ten years ago we were kind of low. We had a low count and we had to Congress Congress districts just taken out from New York. And that's that's funding. That's not coming to our city and I know that's a lot of our populates populations I know I know personally. My family my aunties and didn't have any. Yeah it it'd knock it not how they not care about about the census and it has drastic effects on the ground for our community. They mail out there. Like what is that for? Ruutel like I got. The sense is letter right now in my House. I was about to fill it up but I was thinking about this right and you know Steven you don't have to agree or disagree with me. And you know Joe Joe Look Emmy side is because it's got this radio out but you know like I I must say right now. Two thousand year two thousand when Senses you know Thing came out you know like there was the dot com crash and there was always scared about Y2k and then in two thousand and ten. Oh it was in a missed. A financial financial degraded recession. You don't get twenty twenty again. Senses comes out. Yo this fucking cove nineteenth situation with the economy about at the brink of a crash being so I'll catch a break. I was like I don't know why they keep doing these senses. That pretty much determines our future for the next ten years when there's always some major political cultural economic shit that has happened. You know what I'm saying like I don't know man I. It's but with asa though you'll fill it out and send it back out because it has a direct effect on your community your hurt. I don't know that was kind of convincing. Maybe conspiracy every ten years if it happens in two thousand thirty. I won't fill it out just general point it is very important so with dot. Gov for sure you're listening us and if you got that at your house man make sure you fill it out. Don't just throw it out okay. That has not going to incriminate you. They're not going to just come down on you and then trying to figure out like a few illegal immigrant or not Isis on ice right now you know what I mean. 'cause they're not operating home so. I Know Yeah Isis on ice right now and I. I hope they stay on. You know what I mean our shirt now but with that said Oh can you explain to was td? Exactly what the chief of staff for you know because You know I hear these terms all the time like. Oh this person is the councilman or this person is State Assemblyman This person is the Senator the governor So many different titles and the mayor doesn't have direct affiliation with the state. And you know to get this approve you need to go to Albany and you know what I'm saying like so many different layers. Or if you Kinda just explain to us and layman's terms like for us understand what exactly your role entails. Yeah yeah so it it really chief staff. It's the habit for every every office for the most part is whoever who who's in charge of the district office Which is your representatives office. Somewhere in the neighborhood you live in more the legislative office which on the city council level is at City Hall downtown or on the State Senate or or Semblance in Albany or if it's congressional it's down in DC or senate so For my role is assembling District Thirty and assembly member. There is is Brian Barnwell and for our office. I'm in charge of the overall operations and any legislative and community outreach done both in Albany and in Queens and just you know all the hr stuff everything is hiring our staff and staff development so our office is bigger than most some. Maybe have a five ten or office in the summary of over one hundred so it's really fun to work with some folks and teach them teaching him the ropes and and lead a new generation public servants. That's why our office tries to do. So if it kind of sounds like you're the president of like district thirty or something like that. You're like all right. I'm GONNA like delegate. Here's this apartment. What do you need this kind of thing? This is a priority. Does this sound right to you in terms of like you obviously have like the people who make the big decisions. And you're like okay. Well how are we going to make that happen? How are we going to execute it? Is that kind of on you to do. Oh no no. All of that. The class president would be assemblyman. Maybe no definitely Definitely fits there. And just you know handling overall operations and programming Okay so obviously I would imagine that cove in nineteen would be some of the bigger projects that is part of the operations What would you as a person who runs the operations of a political office? How did that manifest for you? What did you do specifically to prepare for the crisis? Yes so our officers kind of ahead of the curve okay. I think 'cause I'll have is COSMO officers. Mostly millennials for the most parts or all on social media and by by the tenth of the of the day. You're Kinda like getting around the world. Yes but we were pretty early. Think it was around. I remember the week of I WANNA say the seven to the eighth of March. Everyone still working at the office and we had one one of our senior staffers. He was at the senior staff meeting extra time and he started talking about this. This report coming out of London about everyone's GonNa get it said everyone's GonNa get so all New Yorkers are getting it right now all right So at this point where like well you know. It is better to be safe than sorry so I called up all buzney and I said well. What's the procedure here? As of now there is none so up to us if we wanted something In our own office and I said we will just in case at that point. We don't WanNa see him alarmist right because nobody was saying anything about stay at home or anything but I said we might have at least half days. We're going to cut off no weekend. Hours Might start switching remotely for now so we were at least a week ahead of everybody else shutting down. That's crazy and I I do resonate with you in terms of like when it's that during that time it's like am. I being too crazy like am I. Am I kid trying to skip school right now or like the at home Or is this like a big deal. that's really interesting. In what another thing that caught my eye was at. You said most of your The people are millennials. Jen's ears is that normal or sixty the US for sure actually most of our staff. Now I'm looking at I'm trying to. There's a lot so. I'm trying to think of this. Actually all of our senior staff now and executives. They've been hired who have been hired in the last few years or all former interns. They're all graduate students. Or or just getting their undergrad degree. Really well put on part time than full time. So they're all in their twenties early thirties right now. Sure that's so cool. That's great to hear a main Another thing that I wanted to ask on adding onto that is what is like the The ethnic dynamic or the makeup of your office like 'cause we always talk about I mean in our podcast. We often talk about how Having a political voice into system especially as a person of color is really important to to continuously tell our stories and tell our narratives and hopefully even having legislations that could be beneficial to our communities right. So you know you're you're the trick. Obviously in Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse on clogs in the United States into world. would love to see. We'll love to hear like you know what is like the people that are actually working for this district. You know what their backgrounds are. That's that's a great question perfect question. Your question is like really putting down the plate for me because this is easily if not the most of the most diverse offices not just now but I'd say the history of the state assembly easily older. Yeah you if you hurt you know escudo combi anytime after all. This is over if you drop in easily. We have people that we're going to have at least fifteen languages on the spot that could be spoken commerce so heard fifteen languages on a spot exactly exactly and we have one of them is One individuals she speaks like five. I Call A. Google Google translate but this is good and it's so our diversity's pretty a pretty scaled up then folks come in like. Oh this is this a United Nations are so for sure now. Does it feel like somebody who grew up in Queens like we're so I'm so privileged to add at experience growing up because you know like I tell. I told his on a podcast a lot. But you know my lunch table growing up in my high school it was like the United Nations United Nations of buffoonery. Of course because we were making racial jokes against each other like. That's Mike Opportunity. Okay but but yeah like. Do you feel like with what happened with the last presidential election and we're just the overall political climate that you're seeing more more. Poc's Trying to get involved in politics or social work in general Yeah I do see more people of color joining politics or social work. I'm not sure if it's directly attributed to the two thousand sixteen election it might just be you know. All the other factors are making people of color. Choose this work but for sure I I think I I definitely think there's an uptick. I mean that's why it's important in these positions to highlight in our communities at necessarily. Don't get highlighted so What we do For example we have annual reports that highlight specific subgroups in our community so an API report for a district thirty. We have lat next report district thirty. Lgbt by African American. I mean it's all across the board will enquiring about not just was a district makeup of our our constituents our community leaders but also and budgeting is concerned and we need to. They want to know numbers We have that for them. So we we try. Be On top of that to Cool and would you say I mean if you can kind of walk us through like what you and your staff to do and like a daily basis and maybe if you can tie it to like the covert nineteen stuff right now maybe like a project like okay like today woke up and you checked up on this you know. We voted over zoom out on. How can you just walk us through a typical day for you right now? Yeah yeah sure so. Typical Day for me is first and foremost I usually in the beginning of the day Call Up Brian Bar while remember because he's he's going to be up in Albany. I'm choosing not to go up there because they do have to vote and you know go over the bills legislation. Make sure everything's all alright. Then then go back to my senior staff my deputy chief of staff and executive director and go through their projects right now on the constituent services and And really what that is because obviously I didn't know what that was before I even here. It's what if you need help with anything on the state that's impo involving state policy or law you go to your state state level representative and that's what we do. We make people come up to us to to help whether it's property taxes whether it's You know issues with the Department of buildings like they're building or their their landlord. They've landlord issues or anything like that. And it's nonstop twenty four hours a day When they're when they're calling us. I just had a call with somebody Just thirty minute call before I go so It's nonstop checking up on that. So yeah and and also right now all the events we were planning for the rest of the year. We're GONNA I didn't want to cancel. It looks like we're going to have to do it. Virtually or something not a bad option. Now it looks like everyone's doing it. So all our cultural events we're GONNA have a Irish heritage asian-american for May Filipino American from October. Lgbt ARE COMING OUT DAY. All that stuff might be moved on moved onto online so we want to be ahead of the curve and make sure on top. Isn't what a crazy tom that we're living in aware. State Assembly has to think about putting together events. Virtually that's a interesting point but speaking of doing things virtually can't assemblymen and congressmen beyond zone. You have to be physically in Albany logically. I think yes why they gotTA GO UP. And all the need to do the voting. I mean of course the deliberation might be different if it was on Zuma anything that follow up questions on the floor if they want to speak on the floor It makes sense that they want to be there. But at the same time at at this point It might not be the option but they at this point. They're still going with it so when you're when they're at the state assembly meetings they have mask on or they have gloves like. What's going on like guys? I mean. Listen I'm not like agreeing with every political official out there but you know we want these people to be healthy as well like just wondering if you heard cases where you know Assemblyman Mike come in with a mask for the safety of its peers and and yeah yeah well. Some folks are wearing masks. A LOT STILL SELL. Aren't we have two two assembly members? Recently Charles Barron out in Brooklyn and Helen Weinstein had tested positive for Kron avars. But they haven't they haven't been the chamber offer for weeks so they weren't so people were were totally they weren't. They were already distancing Beforehand and few weeks The representatives had to took attach themselves to make sure right so if they're voting sure now they're they're they're all good because they got. I and I hope I hope. Nobody is shaken hands. I hope everybody's doing the albums were shorter. Like it's an angel. Because when I saw Stephen Rago Mr Mr Rocco you've got to agree with me or disagree on his but man when I saw Mr Trump on press conference shaken hands of ought to see IOS of Walmart or ninety hours like Yoda's does not listen into what Fao she is saying at all right now you know what I mean. I hope at Least York state. We are the most vulnerable state right now. I hope people especially in political offices are taken the proper measuring two steps. You know what I mean. Everyone I see. They're doing the same thing you know. Close down offices and mask gloves. Everyone I think a lot a lot of is also if they do have access to mask and gloves are trying to reallocate that to the two hospitals especially the local. One here's elmhurst. So we want to make their fully. Stacked up played basketball growing up in front of Mars Hospital Wall Street. I grew up over there. I used to go to the McDonalds in the basement when we when we were kids garage next door you it has. That was fond memories of it. Bad Memories at the same time but you know like that. New York Times article. I'm sure you guys have already by this point home. It's insane. It became ground zero for the nineteen cases in New York City right now. You don't have main. Yeah because the initial testing site was Elmhurst and in Jamaica at Jamaica Hospital so obviously those are the two hospitals. I've been starting to go to but the Bay Jamaica Hospital here is really backed up as well. There's not enough You know proper equipment but Elmhurst just blew up an while. Everyone in western Queens is head over there line across the block around the block I live. I live to about two blocks away. I know three blocks away in the last week. It is nonstop sirens. Police Ambulance Ambulances headed over there so Definitely they need all the help we can give him Oh man that's crazy I think during this time I Think Governor. Cuomo has gotten a lot of actual positive feedback. These days I've been reading these layers articles of like I want you know governor Cuomo to be my boyfriend's And like governor Cuomo is like all of a sudden like oh he was like always a bully but now we need a link to make something happen. This is my personal opinion. Not even rockets. But what is your the districts relationship and how does that trickle up to the New York assembly like could you explain that dynamic horoscopes Loretto? Ap Gov Refresher on how his decisions and his announce men are kind of influenced by you guys and vice versa. Yeah for sure so just generally not even out. You know outside. Covert Nineteen Any district at some under semi on the semi level. We take a lot of for any legislation or laws on pass. Let's say housing you know Let's say right now. We want to any bill you are. Let's say you want right now. You want to cancel or delay our yeah right right so The family members have to go there and vote so a lot of that a lot of that. The input comes from our positions as whatever they want if you if you live in New York state where most people in your district don't vote. I mean I'm sorry I don't rent. They own houses so their mortgage payment isn't they want to halt on that they don't care about what people are going to are are going to be a thinking differently. And so on our level we pass it state Senate at the pass it And then it's on the governor to To Go ahead and sign off on it. Make sure it's fine. I'll times governor. Just just vetos it outright. Every district in every represent has a different relationship with the governor. Really great really bad Or I don't know if it's really bad but it's on a wide spectrum and it's not necessarily the same with other districts different working relationship especially that the plays a lot with similarly that's how it works with With the city council. Of course it's New York City. Yeah me too when you? Can you explain that a little more? So you say you know. Different districts might have different working relationships like Y. My One district have a very positive one versus another district which might need more attention but are not getting it. Yes sure it's like anything else. I think it's just the Hash. Takes everything like what? What are the issues are trying to put a to prioritize? It's that is that on the list of priorities for the governor on his team of maybe maybe not like for instance if the what is called the representative that go. That's over on Roosevelt island right. They're pushing policy. That's specific to like tech and like techies and I like more Internet users and Internet companies a representative. Upstate might not care about what what that is. And so the governor might have to reprioritize when you when you ask them for stuff. Got It interesting so so go ahead Joe. Yeah so I think I think with what's going on right. Now are especially we? As as a citizen of New York City we would like to know. Just what does the state assembly work with everyday? New Yorkers during this cove in nineteen crisis. Yeah yeah again. Unfortunately I think that depends on which office represents you happy. Because I can't speak for all of them. I'm happy to say for us. You know if you live within a district thirty. Nothing's changed really. We're not stop getting calls like we had whether it's good or bad or a good idea. We had our office for fallen redirect to ten of US getting. We're all getting. The calls are senior staff at least are getting up and we start to talk to all the concessions who are who are calling in anyway so a lot of that stuff. We are still helping the constituent inside but if we're going to deal with the agency side which is like the Department of buildings a permanent housing department aging anything like that. They might be slowed down because they got. They got other things to worry about and You know Reprioritize from city and state so There's not really has changed in terms of workload unfortunate. Yeah so okay. So you said. The workday hasn't changed. But has there been a shift for you specifically on what issue. You're kind of losing sleep about these days might have not been a big before. Yes so I think a lot of it. Now is it's reprioritising. Obviously Italy obvious but but healthcare and healthcare needs and and are scared to to go to go to hospital that you've been because they can't they can't pay for it or they just don't want I and and You know some of you may know about this on sixty ninth in what side. There's a lot of day laborers at all hours of the day out. They're not going to the hospital. Either you know maybe they go to Elmhurst but there that's already packed up and and a lot of these folks that might need those Testing in healthcare services. We really got to shine the light on them right now because One thousand percent man one thousand percent. I know exactly who you're talking about all the All the The South American Day laborers that are on Woodside Avenue over there. Wayne to get picked up for work. You know but not only does folks but like so many restaurants so many of the local industry especially in those areas are served by immigrants that are getting paid under the table. You know what I mean like. So even if they they can't file for unemployment in Maine and They there there's just isn't that much like I guess like statewide were federal level wide infrastructure. That could help those people in those type of communities right especially in areas of queens and other parts of New York. Yeah no you're right. You're right so it's like anything else. When if we talked about this last month we'd be it'd be a similar ratio. We'd say Oh that you know we need to focus on on the day laborers for the undocumented workers there they they definitely more attention that much more so now that we're in this kind of crisis emergency sort of your now so I mean without sort of like how like you know. I'm a small business owner and obviously small businesses are affected tremendously. Because we just don't have that type of reserves to last us for a two month where even maybe three weeks you know to just not us for us to just close our doors. How how are how is your How is your office like working with local businesses in this time of crisis? Sure sure so for the state assembly And this is for every level of government really for us our scope of work and our responsibility is really just on the state level. So if you have any contracts on the state let's say like an application the liquor authority like you go through. Us State Level Labor. Yeah absolutely go through a specific law you want in New York state or enquiring about go through us but it seems like a lot of or the majority of the agencies that local small businesses should be calling up is with the city with New York City right. So that's the Department of Small Businesses are consumer affairs and there's a lot of these little resources that the Department of Business Services has out there so I suggest everyone go over there. See if you can apply for some resources and and I think there's some funding there as well or so. I definitely four people over there. So speaking of Communicating these resources What are some ways that your office Try to make this information available to everybody like do you guys have a social account or I'm just a grassroots passing papers out but what have been some of the most effective way especially because your staff speak so many languages to do some outreach with these constituents who might feel really vulnerable or scared right now. Yeah sure sure A lot of that We're doing on social media We we put it out there we have different graphs and And for four all the resources and we're doing it in different languages. So that's what we're my team has to like real literally on Monday we're GonNa answer is how could spread the word? Andrew just putting out there on twitter instagram facebook and also going to be on you know some newsletters but unfortunately still I. I allow the in in my opinion and I think it's crazy to say that a lot of people that might need those resources aren't aren't following us. You know they're not calling our office for the most part they might be distrustful of government. Or are they just don't think they'll do? You'll get any resources so Unfortunately in this type of situation. We can't even be proactive. And our office Ashley. Every every few months we have one thousand businesses in our district. Personally go to and check up on. We can't really personally do that if they're totally closed we call up and even if we call. The phones might not work. It's it's even more difficult for proactive office like ours. Because because we can't even attack the people and see what they need so we gotta do everything we can but again. The options are limited. Unfortunately we think of new ways Definitely going to push forth Yo. What's happening I know? You WanNA BE J. Key. You want to record your own podcast and be a man of moral and understanding so you is not easy to make a podcast like six ninety nine per pound. It takes years of practice and relationship building his some knowledge on how to start your own and make money while you're at it because cash was everything around his kid on that. Note checkout anchor. You heard anchor is a one stop shop for recording hosting and distributing your own podcast. It's a thousand percent free and Matt easy to use on top of that anchors like an Asian matches you with grace monsters. Don't want to advertise on your podcast. That means you can't get paid to podcast right away in fact you already know. That's what I'm doing right now. Getting paid for this situation on that note if you WANNA kick off a podcast and make that mouloud while doing it go to anchor dot FM slash. Starting you'll never be like Jay or six ninety nine but you might get close to it once again that's anchored that FM slash start. Take that advice and take it home with you. Kid I- piece. I think that's definitely one thing I noticed about. Any sort of like government agencies were offices or any sort of a basically places where people need to look into to gain to get to supporting. Get help you know. I don't know what it is about a New York I. It does because maybe as because a lot of these offices are not really ran by people that represent these communities as much. I don't know what it is exactly. But there's definitely a level of Disconnect because So I have a small business in flushing Queens and I noticed that there's these community centers in Offices councilman offices. That doesn't necessarily have real direct impact on the local community especially when it comes down to the younger generation to youth. You know like they obviously have a lot of Special programs that help people in need especially if they're like older were so on and so forth but I don't I don't know what it is is just is it because like the marketing element of these political offices are just not quite there and if they're not quite there like in communication. Why isn't there more of an effort or funding to try to reach out to you know? younger demographic like why isn't there an assemblyman? That's on tic TAC. You know what I'm saying like you know just curious to know. Yeah well just the last part we try to GET BRIAN. Take talk so far as not working. Internally are Albany staff has been making internal video so into to the queen staff not externally so far. No but that's a good point. I think the flushing our representatives. I think they're doing a good job but again. I can't speak on behalf of their office. I'm just GonNa talk generally on to answer your question because they're all questions I you know. I had to general. The funding is limited. No matter what. It's not a lot at all nonprofits. I know. I Know Every single nonprofit organization I know that has an office has has ten times the budget as our prophet right so they definitely have more. We do not have the funding. So if there's already working twenty four even office like let's take for example or open seven days a week nine. Am to seven PM and then we're going to events this all ten pm. It's the candidate already packed. And we're GONNA say hey there's a and and this is me talking as a millennial. I want our offices. Outrace millennials which we are. We always do better but at the same time. Our millennials aren't that that engaged yet in the in the political process. You know who is a liar the seniors so that's why a lot of that funding and the focus goes towards program for them because a they are in need those. Those issues are talking about but b because we see them everywhere at every single event. Saying where's this? Where are you helping with this? We don't really get that from From from I wish we did. I wish we did button and in mass right but we're so far we're not ideas get turned a corner soon. 'cause we have more millennial leadership in staff. We have a lot of millennials in in city council and say the Stanley State Senate in Congress. You know it'll Cossio so we have a lot of. I think we're coming out there. It's going to. It's going to change sooner. Yeah Nineteen for sure and even I mean we joked about how we need a refresher on Mike. All these terms and stuff like that but it truly is. I think the lack of Kind of civic literacy a little bit of dislike We know about the president of the United States. We know about you know the the fancy that huge up top elections and I think there is not enough focused especially in our school curriculum when when thousand high school. When I was in middle school we didn't spend too much time learning about our own district or own assembly and they think that probably also contributes to that just like people not knowing what resources are out there and people are carrying with it starts. Impacting them right. You know I think the first time I heard like all your assemblymen was when like you know. My friend was like having a personal issue with something and she finally realized like Oh like. That's the thing that I can do right well known for. This is a personal anecdote again. Like you know when I was in high school I got picked up during the stop and Frisk era and and You know a high like a low low like a PINK SLIP. summons letter whatever whatever whatever Y. P. D. You know what I'm saying and and you know like I told my folks about the situation and day was kind of like. Oh like 'cause you know these news how they kind of. Bruce's me up a little bit because I was like. Are you know a according to them? I was disobeying. This'll disobeying What they were telling me to do. But I was just me. I didn't even flash a badge and you guys were in You know a citizen clothing. You know what I'm saying you guys weren't even in police uniform. So Hamas opposed even not you guys were police officers you know so and then when all this shit happened My folks was like I like we. WanNa make sure that this you know. I don't want you even paid is forty dollars or fine. Whatever you know we want to clear this shit and my folks called up a one member of Somebody from the Korean community and I and told US ly. Yo you need to go talk to John who at the time was a councilman and and you know like and then I got to meet you and I got this thing. And then it got to meet the borough president and then became much bigger than what it was because it was just. I was just got out of my pink slip. A distinct became much bigger than what it was. And and then that's when I realize like the power that these These political local political officials. Had you know like how John was with me at the? Da's office like flaming. What this was you know? I just paid my forty dollars just like whatever I got like a little strike before I was eighteen. You know we could have just been you know said and done but we really took it there and that kind of taught me in so many details. How this thing directly affects us and it could help us when we are in need of it. You know 'cause if anybody needs help from the government is people of Color and people that are disenfranchised you know what I mean. That's definitely Definitely correct with that though. Make sure that for the most part at least two when you do call up for healthier local officials at you know that they represent you people. I calling our office and I'm like Oh we're in Suffolk County. I'm like well to with that one. We have to prioritize. You KNOW PEOPLE ARGUE. We just have to that. There's a list of people you have to call back. Oh you have to prioritize guys number two. We have the same funding across the board. You really should call your representative jar of you know just because Stevens Filipino in your Filipino. But you live in Jersey. City doesn't mean you. You could ask Stephen for hope. You know what I'm saying. It's like it's like you. I I really happened to me. A lot of these Jersey City. Asked me for that Stephen? I'm your man. I'm your cool. You know we from the same island but the Filipino City Council Mental Rolando. Lavar over there. But you know they. There's a lot of inner inner state Communication with us. Yeah we so on that note. Do you have a further advice for anyone? Who's trying to get a hold of their district office like so you've already listed on like number one check and make sure they represent you which by the way how do how do they check. Do just like Google pretty easy website if you just Google who represents me NYC is going to send you to. I think it's It will send you. The link is my gove. Y C DOT Org. All you do is type in your address and this is going to list your your local your your state reps and your your federal representatives. So it's all going to be listed out for you and you can just go make that call whatever you need Nice. I'd just wanted to rephrase that listeners. You're Republican Libertarian. You DISTRUST THE GOVERNMENT. Whatever whatever but yo if you want to know who represents for you who works for you. Google who represents me and why C. And then fill out the remaining details. You heard doesn't know that that is a gem for sure but when you call them make sure you give you know you you come in with the information you need and not just act. These staffers who are working themselves to the bone here we have. We had people just randomly yell at us for things. We had nothing to do. Because they don't have you sound like a lot. It's not just because we're some of us are younger that we need a civics lesson. We have people that are in their sixties seventies eighties. None that think that every elected office is all just your personal like you know. Genie that can grant you wishes. And if they don't they don't they don't wear your wishes or another one. You're going to another one. You're going to another one literally like the call. I mentioned the right now that before I got on this it was a lady that was upset with the President and upset with Congress and like mom this happy session. It is people just want to be heard in one hundred percent get it. I understand but in the end of the day I was. I just had to go like all you got to call your congressman said. That's her congress. Numbers Grace Mang and you gotTa Call Your your representative which is city reser was Bob Holden at the time. And I said you or right now and say that those are you have a federal issue and then you have also a city issue. That was before that we're not really involved. We can help you at worst case scenario. We don't turn anyone down but at least exhausted resources you don't throw everything at us I first hand I. Are you guys. Sometimes they're like the first line of defense you guys get like the hardest hit right because you start the ones who is like okay directing this issue here directing this issue there It's not gonNA be so tough it's like preaching to the choir to ask also just real quick back to the point where you're like. How did these people get our get our information or at least someone literally called me yesterday on a Saturday night? I got your. I got your letter regarding all the resources for Corona virus. However you guys are Democrats so this is a hoax. Don't give me your hoax letter taking you. Because I'll be fine with this. All right why she support our president and just like wait. I'm giving we're giving you resources for Corona virus talking about. It has got say this man. I really got to say you'll listen. Virus does not discriminate. Right it's GONNA attack you regardless of your race regardless of your political affiliation my guy where my lady or whoever you want so you got a smart enough or you're gonNA die. You know saying so smart but I I think I think one thing that also I wanted really are take away. I mean highlight. Is that knowing the difference between federal state and city and yelling the office accordingly right because like you said when a person is frustrated and they need guidance like they're they're just they just want to vent and they just want to get heard and they just want to find a solution as fast as they can and with the way the system is so fragmented and then the information about 'cause you know truth be told we watch. Espn all day. But who really gonNA sit there and watch C. Span. You know what I'm saying like we're not we're not aware okay like I know Grace Mang but what does she really do. Do we really know you know what I'm saying so Is there any sort of like initiative or any sort of Information out there for people to kind of understand like I cool. This person does. Does this person does that. And you need to reach out to this person for this. I'm not sure I mean other than the website I gave it kind of breaks down the responsibilities. Who Represents ME Our website but in terms of what policies might impact you individually that you might prioritize in the city local state and federal. I'm not sure I mean that's something that has no one has put together yet. But it's definitely a good idea. Maybe you got dibs. If you want to omit. That might be another video man. I might need to put together a video breaking it down for the people you know what I'm saying. Oh my God I love that can help on your new Tick Tock. No I'll make it fun and entertaining along with moves. Yeah Oh my gosh. We'll Stephen I mean you you and your staff works Sohar. I feel like and really just for the public service like are there some ways that our listeners could even support you guys support us. I mean not really we serve you. Unfortunately it really is that it's like where I took it loosely the term public servant but we really are just serving like non up I would say is we do have Volunteer opportunities. That's something folks are interested in. All of them has stopped right now or at least respond because of corona virus but we usually go out and and we we paint over graffiti for small businesses or residences in the neighbourhood. That unless it's art it's art. It's all good but if it's like really on someone or window plaid's yeah we go ahead and we we paint over it for them or we also do Sandwich making that. We give to a homeless Son Yorkers and we have a bunch of other activities We shovel snow for for seniors in our district. Because a lot of people don't know this but at eleven. Am after a snow snowstorm. If you didn't show the front of your your your sidewalk. The city comes and finds you. Yeah so like if you're disabled or if you're a senior or you're just lazy you know you shovel you're GonNa get find out eleven. Am If you didn't do it so we go ahead and we We shall will at least the front sidewalk for for disabled and senior. So they don't get they don't get fired but a city that's crazy. Well I mean hopefully. These kids can volunteer. I would love to volunteer. I'm going to look that up now Jd of anything else. You're one asked the maison I just wanted to say. Man is good to see a Filipino. Broader into office. You know working as a chief of staff for the for the local district thirty representing Queens Ny. It's like I think I mentioned is into podcast before like when I was a kid coming up like I I you know I'm Korean by the Senate but y'all want it to be Filipino. Man Like I literally. I literally want to be Filipino. Man Joe like all the cougars mid to high like they were the bj's they were to dance your elected you know so it all like it's really geared to me you know what I mean so it's good to hear that you know you're doing your thing and all your shot out to Chi Chi on group the group. I wonder what happened to them but shut out by Filipino. A Filipino brother. Was you know saying hi. Yeah we well. We got a few of those those nineties early. Two thousands of Filipino are ambiguous. I'M GONNA I'M GONNA look him up after this now. I got reminded me. I'M GONNA see if they're on spotify. Most of my consumption was on youtube. Like all the Filipino. That were killing it on Youtube. Man Tashin Love Passion. Susan's thank you Steven. Honestly it's like where we were. Googling you just had too many on the riffraff and so many things that you have accomplished like Filipino. American Museum Mike Board member. You're you're so prolific and you I think are changing the stereotypes India handed layup. Decide you know. Dj Dancer Essentially man so you're really doing an amazing service to all of us and thank you so much for educating us Before we wrap all of this There are two questions that we asked. All of our guests The first one Is what is your most significant relationship. And you don't have to take it so literally. It could be a thing you know you could be more metaphorical quite literally if I take it right now. It's me and my My my Aloe Vera Pure L. Right next to you right next to the pure. Oh the most relationship with Piero athlete from the glove. You need the pure out but yeah but other than that I just you know family family friends my mom when she was with me. All that cell alive Good people to support you in all your endeavors. You no doubt no doubt and And Usually we always follow but the second six ninety nine per pound question. Go to question. Or what is your personal mantra? I got a few. But it's the one that's always if someone's GonNa ask me this. It's not even my. I got from my friend. Michelle but she says that the grass is greener where water. So it's like if especially in a time like this you WanNa get it over with you. Want to be on the other side where the grass is greener but we can make what. Our situation is as beautiful as positive as possible if we are. We focused on changing our attitude our minds and and just You know making it right out on our own. We'll dumb man does. The grass is greener. Where you water it. His most significant relationship aside from his family right now is the Purell hand. Sanitizer aloe Vera and Aloe Vera but Yeah so I so I mean you know me personally have always had like a lot of respect for people in the political space and I feel like as a community especially Especially communities consisted of people of color. We need more representation in government. But unfortunately I feel like our parents you know. They're not too fond of us. Getting into this Space Moseley. Because you know we're they're they're usually first generation immigrants that don't have all the The money in the world and they want us to be in careers where it sounds lucrative more financial. Leeann obviously like being in the political space. It doesn't always guarantee that You know what is it like like is the money. Okay like Is Is it like. What kind of passion were that needs for you to be a commute in a in a essentially a service industry where you're serving the people mania? Yeah definitely really good question especially come from a Philippino background I mean. Luckily my mom wasn't was one of the few parents not forcing me to be a nurse. Filipino nurse Auto Filipino nurses though yeah especially now for sure But the process of that is it could be anything mine was different. The reason I how I was even offered is I was I was working at in government. I was working in nonprofit and at the time this two thousand sixteen there was. There was a part of a group called the Little Manila Defense or the Little Manila coalition man really offending Woodside or eastern Woodside from a gentrification in the neighborhood and ordered it no elected officials came to our meetings not at all except one person who was running for office. Brian Barwick who's now dissembling man. And he kept coming. I I'm like this guy just wants vote. They're like a two meetings. I'm like oh he knows he's GonNa vote anyway coming become aware and after a few. I'm like oh I think he really cares about the issue in the community. So I mean that's how we developed our relationship and when he won he definitely you know he called me up right away and and say if I was interested in and you know for sure to be with someone like that and also represent Part of my neighborhood. It's also have a commute like thirty minutes or less is a big deal so so definitely I was I was down and happy to do so for the most part. That's not the way it goes is if you're trying to especially in college after college get that internship at at a local elected official or the community board and work your way up. I mean if you're good I guarantee I already know who the good interns that WHO. If I had money I'd hire I already known them. We get reports on it. So if you show up and you do the work and you show. You're passionate about this work and you could do it for a long time or or even logger. What you'll you'll get it. You'll get that opportunity. You'll get the pardon full-time you'll you'll rise up the ranks in terms of of pay your heart pursue it. We always. We'd be making twice as much in the private sector for sure but a lot of that is also that you're you get to know your community other communities and know you and you get to Noah you being the front lines at a lot of these issues. That IMPACT. The world and locally. So it's you know it's how you want to take your career. But it's a great learning experience on on getting to know New Yorkers every day for sure for sure that so good to hear it just like a personal anecdote so when I was in high school I grew up in Arcadia California. Sixty six represent We were like seventy percent Chinese American Asian American In Our neighborhood and my school was literally like eighty percent Asian American but all of our assembly members were white and I remember when I was in high school. There was one He was like the first Asian American to ever run And everyone thought he was crazy and but he was like hey like. Isn't there something wrong here that like no one reflects there are neighborhood and actually the people who represent this neighborhood kind of sees these new Asian Americans as people who took over their neighborhood because one of his platforms was translating some of the signs and Mandarin because how prolific population was And I remember he. You know fantastically lost because he still couldn't get People to vote unfortunately because of that fear because of dislike people who just don't believe in the system anymore but talking to you made me kind of wonder I'm like I wonder if you know who represents now and it's Edwin Chow He's an Asian American. And I'm kind of like this is amazing like a few years time like things are changing and younger people. Maybe they're starting to care so People like you and people who represent the people who live in these places that we know and love is so important. Thank you so much for coming on. No thanks for your time and again not just for the team I got. Luckily Luckily I got them in December number. And not just me. There's a lot of other folks Reason Americans across the city and state that are in similar positions are representatives of the state and city level. And you can just see the trajectory for the Asian American community in politics in New York is pretty steep. And we're going to get there and in more highlights sooner than later for sure man for sure. I jaw with asset That's another episode with Stephen Rago Chief of staff for district dirty for state assemblyman is that is that correct that say everything correctly. Yeah Yeah Yeah cool cool so with that said. I mean you'll Stephen. Working People find you and connect with you and your office take away with some plugs. Yeah Yeah for sure Anything an office. We put all our all our Info and resources on some women Barnwell instagram. So if you just go to a bar while thirty up in four or Ryan burrow up instagram. It's it's over there. Everything else are right now. You got our email list if you go online. Just type that in and we'll send you all that all that Info anything else other than that talk about take talk you might be able to find We're GONNA WE'RE GONNA figure that out but Definitely on resources or like you mentioned gang your foot in the door in this field with an internship. Or if there's a employment opportunity these charter hit me up. And we'll see what we can do. I it sounds good job. Is there anything like that now? Just a huge huge. Thank you to working so hard. Especially during this time All the staff members who are on the phone practically I appreciate that thank you thank. You do. Great Work for sure. Thank you Steven with asset as another episode. Six ninety nine per pound podcasts. Remember you can stream this podcast on all major streaming platforms. If you WANNA show some love. Hit the subscribe button right now and then sell France. Excel a friend. Each warranty most important lidove rate shared his podcast with your friends colleagues comrades non political and all that all right follow was six ninety nine per pound podcast six ninety nine per pound specifically on. Instagram facebook and twitter. Don't forget you can support his now. Monetarily by combining me were Joe Joe. A three dollar coffee a coffee dot com slash and setting up a monthly donation at anchor dot. Fm Ninety nine pounds last support young was six nine.