Assemblyman David Weprin Wants to Put the City’s Financial House in Order
By Yehudit Garmaise
Assemblyman David Weprin, who represents District 24 in Queens and is the only frum Yid on the ticket for Primary Day, is running to be New York City’s next comptroller, which is the second highest office in City Hall and provides a check on the mayor financially.
Not since 1921, has there been a kippa-wearing Jew working as an elected official in City Hall, when New York City had a comptroller named Mr. Lazarus Joseph.
Before getting into politics, Mr. Weprin, who said that he would be proud to make a Kiddush Hashem for the Orthodox Jewish community as the New York City comptroller, worked on Wall Street for 25 years in public finance.
Wall Street, he said, provided him with rich experiences that prepared him for many tasks of the city’s comptroller, who invests the pension funds, which now total $254 billion, of all the city’s employees, such as the police, the fire, and the sanitation workers.
“I would be trying to get the best returns on the assets by making the best investments with the lowest risks,” explained Mr. Weprin, who received endorsements from five separate police unions, whose lifesavings, he would be investing.
Besides for his financial acumen, as a member of the Jewish community, Mr. Weprin shares its values, such as yeshiva education, public safety, and supporting small businesses.
“I have long been fighting the ‘substantially-equivalent’ issue with the Department of Education for because good educations are not determined by the number of hours of secular education they include,” said Mr. Weprin, who attended the Yeshiva of Central Queens, which his wife and some of his children attended, while other children attended other yeshivas. “We learn so much critical thinking and gain so much intrinsic value from learning Gemara and learning limudei kodesh.
“Plus, we have yeshiva graduates going to all the top schools, as well as going into important industries and jobs.”
In addition, Mr. Weprin has been a strong advocate of the yeshiva tax credit for parents who take on the financial burden to send their children to yeshivas.
Mr. Weprin also would use his position as comptroller to promote public safety, which can be affected by how the city’s money is spent, he said.
In addition to adding police to the NYPD, which is currently down 3,000 officers, Mr. Weprin’s also wants to station comptroller officers in every borough to better help the communities to gain access financial services and COVID relief, instead of employing the office’s 800 employees in their usual location in the Municipal Building, near City Hall, in downtown Manhattan.
“I especially want to help small businesses in New York City, which make up more than 50% of the city’s jobs and have been particularly hit hard,” said Mr. Weprin, who added that his particular skills, background, and values would be particularly useful to help the city to recover from the pandemic.
“We got billions of dollars in aid this year,” he said, “however, we are anticipating a $4 to 5 billion deficit for the next four years, which will take us through the comptroller’s entire first term.
“I think it is important we get our fiscal house in order.”