By Former NY State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
I represented the constituents of the 25th District in the New York State Senate for many years. I served as a teacher and daycare director prior to holding elected office, and I know what it takes to translate personal experiences and a passion for change into action on behalf of New Yorkers. That is why I am endorsing Toba Potosky for City Council in District 33. Toba is committed to the same ideals I championed throughout my time in the Senate and that I continue to stand for today.
During my time in office, I chaired the Committee on Children and Families, part of my life-long commitment to expanding opportunities for young people to help them achieve positive outcomes. Through tireless advocacy for reform of the juvenile justice, foster care, and adoptive care systems, I sponsored and supported legislation that created a better, fairer future for our State’s most valuable asset: our children.
Every time a child from my community is needlessly entangled in the criminal justice system, I think of what could have been, had the right resources been available to them. For too many years, we have neglected to support our Black and Brown children, whether through education, healthcare, or mental health services. Like me, Toba believes that the rights of every individual must be valued and protected, regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic. Toba will fight for all children and families and advocate for reparative justice for BIPOC and Latinx communities. To correct over a century of failures, he will work to establish programs that ensure access to fair housing, K-12 and higher education, economic opportunities, and equal justice. He will advocate for pathways to success for every child, regardless of who they are or where they attend school.
Toba’s proposal to create community-based solutions to end the school-to-prison pipeline will build on my legacy of youth empowerment and restorative justice. We have a shared goal of making urgent reforms to hold the NYPD accountable, which is a necessary precursor to rebuilding relationships between police and our communities. We cannot rest until our Black, Brown, and Hispanic neighbors – and indeed all New Yorkers – receive the respect and protection from the NYPD to which they are entitled. No one is above the law, and that includes police officers.
When I left the Senate, I made a commitment to ensuring that my constituents would continue to be served by someone who understands and will address their needs, and I am confident that Toba Potosky is the right person to represent the residents of District 33. For two decades Toba has fought alongside me and all of our neighbors to restore and revitalize our communities, and I know he has the determination, tenacity, and optimism to lead us into the future.
Senator Montgomery’s career as a New York State Legislator representing Central and North Brooklyn communities includes advocacy for youth, public education, criminal justice reform, environmental preservation and civil rights. She represented District 25 in the New York State Senate between 1984 and 2020. D25 overlaps with much of Brooklyn’s District 33 in the City Council.