Shapiro, who grew up and went to school in Forest Hills, said what’s most important for the community is investing in the district’s healthcare and education sectors.
The City Council district includes the neighborhoods of Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Rego park.
“If you want to have robust equitable economic growth, you need to make sure the government is spending in healthcare and education,” Shapiro said. “There are no better investments for us as a society.”
A self-proclaimed “budget nerd,” Shapiro has the professional credentials to provide a solid foundation to his claims.
He worked for the International Monetary Fund, helped provide food stamps as a federal consultant, and now advises chief financial officers on business decisions.
“It's very important for us to not just have an activist in this role, but someone that really understands the nuts and bolts of a budget,” Shapiro said.
He said that people in the district are feeling left out and forgotten under past leadership.
“This is not a job where you sit on your hands and rest on your laurels,” Shapiro said. “I’ll go to the mat and meet anyone, anytime, anywhere, and do anything that I need to do to get more resources into this community.”
He talked about wanting to negotiate for small businesses so they would not feel threatened by the hardships of the pandemic.
“When you see that double or triple the amount of business loans went to Manhattan as compared to Queens, there is something that’s deeply unethical and immoral with that,” Shapiro said.
On the subject of COVID-19, Shapiro spoke about how Manhattan had nearly double the amount of testing sites and intensive care unit beds than Queens.
“We were woefully unprepared for this pandemic in Queens,” he said. “It shows a failure in Queens political leadership. We simply need to be investing more into healthcare and our schools to fix this.”
Shapiro also made a pledge to only accept donations from individuals, not corporations, special interest groups, real estate firms or any other outside financial groups.
“We’re running a fully people-funded campaign,” he said. “I’m very proud about that.”
When it comes to problem solving, Shapiro said he will bring his do-it-yourself background to the job, meaning that he would take quality-of-life issues into his own hands.
“It will not be the case that it takes two years for us to put up a speed bump or two years for us to put up a stop sign,” he said. “If the city won’t get it done, I will do it myself. This is about making sure we are responsive to our community.”
And while Queens faces “monumental” challenges in regards to health, education and race, Shapiro said that he is ready to bring equity back to the district.
“When we build more equitable economic growth, the pie gets bigger for everyone,” he said.