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Baruch alumnus and professor runs for office in hopes of bringing back New York City

Ben Guttmann | City Council 2021

In hopes of bringing back New York City, Baruch College graduate and current Adjunct Professor Benjamin Guttmann is running for a seat on the City Council for the 26th District.

The former USG President wants to provide a fresh perspective to the position that would help rebuild the city after COVID-19 caused significant financial losses.

The 26th Council District includes the neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria and Maspeth in the borough of Queens and has over 161,419 residents.

“New York is Worth Fighting For,” reads Guttmann’s website. He and his team, if elected, will work toward building a city that is affordable and better for everyone living in it.

His platform consists of a variety of improvements for revitalizing small business, climate change, creating affordable housing, transportation and creating green spaces.

One of the biggest things that Guttmann brings that other candidates do not is his experience as the only candidate who started their own small business.

“I started a digital marketing agency right after graduating Baruch,” Guttmann said. During this experience, he gained a lot of insight into what small companies need to operate and how to best serve their requirements.

“Thousands of businesses closed in New York City during this pandemic, and our economy is teetering on a knife’s edge. We must implement a vacancy tax on unleased storefronts to fight community-killing real estate speculation, and fund programs that spur entrepreneurship – particularly in underserved communities,” Guttmann’s website states as part of his mission to make small businesses work again.

To Guttmann, New Yorkers face many challenges ahead and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be an easy process.

With that in mind, he feels that the issues will not end with the pandemic. Many businesses will not reopen, and some jobs may not return.

In addition to this New York City has a high number of homelessness that needs to be worked on. “We need to take steps to increase housing supply and fight for real affordability. We can accomplish this both with well-planned, equitable development of Sunnyside Yard, and through supporting massive improvements to NYCHA,” Guttmann’s website states. He makes the point that these issues were already in the city before the pandemic. He said that the issues faced now “weren’t all caused by COVID-19 but were revealed by COVID-19. They were accelerated a great deal by COVID-19 and I am running to fight to save NYC.”

He wants to transition a lot of what he learned from CUNY into city government. Guttmann was actively involved in student life, working to get 25th street closed while president of USG. “I was involved with USG and there were things that were advocacy elements that we did to secure funding for programs and for capital improvements at Baruch including the 23rd St.

building,” Guttmann said.

He has experience in securing funding and worked toward getting the first $12 million for the 23rd St. project.

Considering this achievement, he wants to replicate this with more “pedestrianized streets, with more friendly structures on streets that stay open, with bike lanes and pocket parks, we can make a better city for everybody,” he concluded.

Guttman is also an advocate for CUNY. Attending Baruch, he developed a belief that the university is a system that works to provide quality education for its more than 275,000 students.

“What is good for New York City is good for CUNY students and what is good for CUNY students is good for New York City,” he said.

His entire campaign includes many ways to improve New York and this in turn will help CUNY students.

His candidacy is in its early stages and will continue to develop as Election Day approaches in 2021. With his New York City goals in mind, Guttmann will continue to put the needs of the city at the forefront of his campaign.

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