Aronov became interested in activism while serving as student body president at his high school, Queens Gateway To Health Sciences Secondary School, where he challenged the administration on problematic practices, provoking a formal investigation by the Department of Education into the matter.
A longtime leader with the Queens County Young Democrats, Aronov continued his engagement in student advocacy at Hunter College, where he was involved in a successful effort to freeze CUNY tuition for the first time in five years.
He went on to serve seven years under Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, who will be term-limited out of her seat representing Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.
Aronov feels that his previous experience as director of community relations for the council member gives him a unique advantage for the position.
“I’m not going to have to learn the job,” he noted. “I know how the council works, and I know how the political system in New York works.”
Most recently, Aronov has been working as Queens lead organizer for NYC Census 2020, while continuing the efforts of a nonprofit he co-founded, the Bukharian Jewish Union, by supporting the community amid COVID-19 through a mutual aid network.
Now, Aronov is eager to take his advocacy to the next level by utilizing the budget and legislative responsibilities of a seat on the City Council.
“I saw early on that when you're in a position of power to affect change, you can do it,” he explained. “With perseverance, there’s so much more that you can do that goes beyond a position of advocacy.”
Aronov intends to leverage that influence toward bolstering the district’s educational institutions. He says that, collectively, schools in District 29 are owed $17.5 million in equity and state foundation aid that was allocated but not yet distributed. Aronov plans push for the release of those funds.
He would also expand Gifted and Talented classes, tailor dual language programs to the demographics of schools, and push for increased STEM offerings such as robotics, coding and home economics, so that students can learn the “essential skills that will propel them forward in the 21st century.”
Another component of Aronov’s educational policy involves broadening the city’s Pre-K and 3-K initiatives, as well as ensuring affordable child care for families with children under the age of three through an expansion of EarlyLearn NYC.
He plans to cap the cost of child care at 7 percent of household income, a figure floated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as attainable for parents and guardians.
Pillars of Aronov’s campaign include fighting for affordable housing, assisting struggling small businesses, supporting seniors and those with disabilities, transforming the transportation landscape, empowering single parents and fostering greater civic engagement from the community.
When it comes to the city’s plan to close Rikers Island in favor of four borough-based jails, one of which would be located in Kew Gardens, Aronov says he is against the project.
Yet, with the undertaking recently being shifted from the 2021 city budget to the 2025-29 capital plan, he does not believe the jails will be pursued during the next council member’s term.
Aronov does, however, see the incoming City Council member being tasked with mitigating the fallout from the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis. As such, he has proposed a platform for the city’s recovery from COVID-19.
The plan includes making work-from-home schedules available to those who require them, creating neighborhood sites where residents can receive PPE and hand sanitizer, making public Wi-Fi hotspots accessible on a local level, and funding tele-health services for mental health wellness.
A lack of real-time language access to official emergency-related information is another area of concern for Aronov, who saw firsthand the delays in awareness that occurred within immigrant communities at the height of the pandemic.
“We need to make sure that in times of emergency, immigrant communities are not left behind because information is primarily disseminated in English,” implored Aronov.
If elected, Aronov would make history as the first Bukharian elected to the City Council. His parents emigrated to the “World’s Borough” from Uzbekistan in the hopes of creating a more secure life.
“My community sees this as the first shot at having representation,” said Aronov. “It’s about providing a seat at the table for a community that for decades hasn’t had it.”