As 3-K expansion pauses, NYC hires consultant to study where to move seats

Reema Amin, Chalkbeat New York

As Mayor Eric Adams has backpedaled a plan to expand free preschool for New York City’s 3-year-olds, officials have hired a consulting firm to figure out how many seats should exist in each of the city’s neighborhoods next year.

The city will pay consulting firm Accenture just over $760,000 to “map out needs and seats” because of thousands of vacancies in the program, Jacques Jiha, the city’s budget director, said during Monday’s City Council hearing on the mayor’s preliminary budget.

While Jiha said the city has about 19,000 empty seats this year, education department officials have pinned the number in recent months closer to 16,000. (Spokespeople for City Hall and the education department did not immediately clarify which number is correct.)

The study, which Jiha said has been underway for about a month, comes after Adams decided earlier this year not to expand the program for 3-year-olds as planned under former Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio wanted to model the program on his universal preschool for 4-year-olds, estimating the city would need about 60,000 seats.

The city currently has about 55,000 seats, thousands of which sit empty. Adams administration officials argue that the system needs a close study to determine whether seats are currently in neighborhoods that need them.

“Once that study is completed, OK, we will have more insight in terms of how to allocate those seats and in which area to allocate them,” Jiha said during the hearing. Under de Blasio, city officials estimated that providing free preschool for 3-year-olds would save families about $10,000 in child care costs.

Officials did not immediately share the duration of the Accenture contract or when the study’s findings will be complete. Jiha said they’re pushing Accenture “hard” to issue its recommendations before the start of next school year — and in time for the city to incorporate changes in the upcoming budget, which must be adopted by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Many city lawmakers and early childhood advocates have criticized the mayor’s decision not to add more seats to the program — a plan that relied heavily on COVID stimulus funds, which are set to run out next year. Some have argued that the city is not doing more aggressive outreach in many neighborhoods with vacancies — many of which are in low-income communities — thus failing to reach families who could benefit the most from free preschool programs. Advocates have also blamed the lack of enrollment on a cumbersome application process, Politico reported.

“My district is one of the areas and we had a huge vacancy issue, and there was no real outreach done,” Councilwoman Althea Stevens, who represents part of the Bronx, said during Monday’s hearing.

Revamping the city’s 3-K system is just one thorny early childhood education issue facing the Adams administration. The city had failed to pay preschool providers on time, leading some to shutter, while a separate plan to move hundreds of early childhood workers into new positions has been paused after it initially caused confusion and chaos across the division.

At the same time, the city announced an ambitious effort to provide preschool seats for every student with a disability, an issue that former Mayor Bill de Blasio was unable to solve.

Reema Amin is a reporter covering New York City schools with a focus on state policy and English language learners. Contact Reema at

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

Earned Income Tax Credit: You earned it – and NYC will help you get

By Mayor Eric Adams


My mission as Mayor of New York City is to focus on the needs of working people of this city. One of the best ways we can do that is to get money back in your pocket – money you have earned, money you need to support your family.

Last year we went to Albany to get the Earned Income Tax Credit, better known as the EITC, expanded for the first time in 20 years. The EITC is a refundable tax credit provided to working New Yorkers and families. And I am proud to say that together with our state partners we got it done.

Promises made, promises kept.

The enhanced EITC put $350 million dollars in the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers. That means more money for the essentials: food, groceries, bills & rent. It is a lifeline for so many working people and families across New York City. This tax credit has helped 800,000 New Yorkers and this year we want to reach even more.

And last week we launched a $1.5 million television, print, subway, social media and radio marketing campaign on the enhanced EITC to spread the word to New Yorkers.

This tax season, we want to help more working people get the support they need through the Earned Income Tax Credit.

New Yorkers can visit to see if they qualify for this cash back.  If you do, you can apply for this credit while filing your taxes. It is that simple. New Yorkers can file their taxes for free at any one of our NYC Tax Prep locations across the five boroughs or online at

The EITC is a simple and straightforward way to make sure working New Yorkers get their fair share.

Under the enhanced EITC a single parent with one child with an income of $14,750 has seen their benefit increase from $187 to $933. And a married couple with two children and an income of $25,000 has seen their New York City benefit increase from $308 to $925 under the city payment.

I come from a working-class background. My mother worked a double shift as a cleaner to support my siblings and me. There are thousands of New Yorkers doing the same today in our city.

We know many New Yorkers are struggling right now. Rent is going up and inflation is driving up the cost of living.  People are worried about whether they can keep a roof over their heads. And due to the pandemic, many have lost wages and childcare.

I know the hustle is real. And I want every hardworking New Yorker to know: We’re looking out for you.

The EITC is one of the most effective support programs in history, helping low-income families and workers get a boost as they climb the ladder of success.

Through the EITC we are putting more money in working peoples’ wallets and helping lift some of the burdens they face.  Working New Yorkers deserve their fair share and credit, and we are giving it to them.

Change At Jamaica For LIRR Riders Has Grown Worse

By Larry Penner, Transportation Advocate


The end of direct thru service from Jamaica on the Atlantic branch to Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn was based upon two factors.  The LIRR signal, track and interlocking system west of Jamaica did not have the capacity to manage simultaneous services from Atlantic Terminal, Penn Station and Grand Central Madison (not including Hunters Point and Long Island City service).  The second was need to reassign many MU electric cars from the Atlantic branch to support new Grand Central Madison service.  Initiation of the shuttle service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal resulted in the expenditure of several hundred million.  These funds paid for a new platform, new tracks nine and ten, platform along with accompanying track, signals and interlockings to access to this new facility..

One of the negative outcomes from the start of LIRR East Side Access to Grand Central Madison is the process of changing trains at Jamaica. Prior to the start of this service on Monday, February 27th, there were far more direct timed connections.  Trains arriving from different branches would arrive on tracks one, two and three.  Hundreds of millions in capital investments by the LIRR for upgrades to communications, signals, track and interlockings east of Jamaica Station made it easier to coordinate parallel arrival of Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn and Penn Station bound trains.  It was a simple walk across the platform.  Sometimes during AM rush hour, this might include a third Hunters Point or Long Island City bound train.  A closed door express to Penn Station might be followed within minutes by a local making stops in Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside stations within minutes. A closed door express to Atlantic Terminal would also be followed by a local making stops in East NY & Nostrand Avenue stations within minutes. These seamless transfers are no longer so common.  LIRR policy is to keep trains moving west bound as quickly as possible.  In too many cases, you now may have to wait several minutes more for your connecting train.  Grand Central Madison trains from east of Jamaica will no longer wait for connections to a Penn Station bound train also arriving from a different branch east of Jamaica.

A second negative impact with the initiation of LIRR East Side Access service to Grand Central Madison is the suspension of virtually all direct thru service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn.  Travel time for thousands of LIRR riders bound for downtown Brooklyn, Wall Street, World Financial Center, World Trade Center or other destinations in downtown Manhattan via Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn  now have longer commutes.  Several years ago, previous LIRR President Phil Eng’s promised a feasibility study to look into the possible preservation of some direct service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn.  Was MTA Chairman Janno Lieber and current Acting LIRR President Catherine Renaldi aware of this commitment?  The study was never made public prior to implementation of the new LIRR service plan effective February 27th with commencement of full time Grand Central Madison operations.   .

There are other adverse impacts to thousands of LIRR customers traveling between Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn and Jamaica Station.  They now have to walk up the stairs, take an escalator or elevator from platform levels from Jamaica Station tracks one, two or three to the mezzanine level.  This is followed by walking across the mezzanine and down the stairs, escalator or elevator to the new tracks 9 or 10.  Next, wait for the next scoot service train running between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal on tracks 9 and 10. There are twenty scheduled to run west bound from Jamaica to Brooklyn between 6 and 10 AM rush hour.  Another twenty are scheduled to run east bound from Brooklyn to Jamaica between 4 and 8 PM rush hour.  Riders miss the good old days when it was a simple switch walking across the platform between tracks 1, 2 & 3 to the desired Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal, Hunters Point or Long Island City bound train. This is now  more challenging for those physically disabled who require the use of an elevator.

Depending upon how long the wait is for a connecting train between Jamaica and Brooklyn, this could add up to between 5 to 10 minutes each way or a total of 20 minutes per day. LIRR scoot service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal will be not be running with head ways every few minutes like a subway.  Thousands of riders whose trains originated to or from Brooklyn who once had a one seat ride have lost this benefit.  This conflicts with the MTA promise that the ESA to GCM will save LIRR riders up to 40 minutes each day round trip in daily commutes.

One rider’s gain in time savings (being able to arrive in the Manhattan midtown east side via Grand Central Terminal versus Penn Station) is a loss for another rider trying to access downtown Brooklyn or lower Manhattan via Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn.

Those whose final destination is the new Elmont-UBS Arena station, in a majority of times, also have to change at Jamaica. No longer needing to change at Jamaica depends upon which branch riders are arriving from.   Hempstead branch trains will stop at the Elmont-UBS Arena station full time . Huntington and Ronkonkoma branch trains will be less frequent.  They will only stop weekday evenings (coinciding with events at the UBS Arena) and frequently on weekends. Babylon, Speonk, West Hempstead, Long Beach, Far Rockaway and Oyster Bay branch riders will continue having to change at Jamaica and double back east to the Elmont-UB Arena station.  Port Jefferson branch riders will have to change at Huntington or Jamaica stations.  Since the Atlantic Brooklyn branch is now a shuttle service operating between Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn and Jamaica, riders will also have to change at Jamaica.  Most Port Washington branch riders will have an additional second transfer at Woodside before arriving at Jamaica.

So much for truth in advertising by the MTA & LIRR.

(Larry Penner — is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former Director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management. )

Regulating Lithium Ion Batteries

By Alicia Venter

A legislative package strengthening fire safety of e-bikes and scooters was passed by the City Council on March 2, in an effort to address the fire dangers posed by powered devices and batteries that do not have recognized safety standard certifications.

As of March 2, more than 20 lithium-ion battery fires have been reported in the city this year, and on Sunday, ​​A five-alarm fire in the Bronx that injured seven people was reportedly caused by an e-bike battery.

In 2021, the FDNY investigated 220 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries which resulted in 6 deaths and 147 injuries.

The package has five different legislative introductions that collectively look to target the unregulated lithium-ion batteries, which can malfunction due to not meeting safety requirements.

Introduction 663-A looks to regulate the selling of mobility powered devices that do not meet recognized safety standard certification. In order for any device to be sold legally, the device and its storage batteries would be required to be certified as meeting the applicable Underwriters Laboratories safety standards.

“The sharp rise in fires involving e-bike batteries is incredibly concerning,” said Council Member Oswald Feliz, who introduced the legislation. “Last year, there were approximately 220 fires caused by defective e-bike batteries. Families were displaced, and some of them lost loved ones. This cannot become the norm, so we are taking action. Not all batteries have caused fire safety challenges. Batteries that are certified have safety-related tools that help prevent overheating and other malfunctions that lead to fires. My legislation will require that batteries go through certification in order to be sold in NYC – to ensure they are safe for our communities to use. I also look forward to working on additional bills, including Majority Leader Keith Powers’ bill, which would create a battery swap program. We are dedicated to ensuring that e-bike batteries are safe and accessible for all New Yorkers.”

Introduction 722-A, introduced by local councilman Robert Holden, would require the FDNY to submit five reports — one per year for five years — related to the fire risks associated with the devices, with data on on the fire risks posed by powered mobility devices, how the FDNY is taking action to reduce the risks and recommendations to further decrease the risks. This will “help the FDNY to stay ahead of the curve and be better prepared to respond to any incidents involving lithium-ion batteries,” Holden said in a statement.

The FDNY would also be required to develop an information campaign to educate the public on the fire risks posed by powered mobility devices (Introduction 656-A).

The legislative package also would restrict the assembly and reconditioning of lithium-ion batteries with cells removed from used batteries (Introduction 752-A) and would require the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to develop and public educational material on e-bike safety risks delivery workers (Introduction 749-A).

“The toll that fires are increasingly having on families and communities is devastating and requires the urgent attention of all levels of government,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “We must reduce the avoidable fire tragedies caused by the wide proliferation of uncertified lithium-ion batteries. These bills are an initial step to increase public education and reduce the growing commercial circulation of uncertified batteries that pose the greatest danger. There is continued work to do with all stakeholders, particularly our deliveristas, to support livelihoods and safety.”

Beyond the City Council, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, wrote a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) calling on the agency to do more to curb imports of dangerous unbranded lithium-ion batteries used in electric micro-mobility devices.

As 65,000 delivery workers rely on these devices in New York City, she described how the unregulated, unbranded batteries put them, and the city, at risk.

“As public officials, it is our duty to represent the public interest and protect American consumers, especially our deliveristas, from the extreme and tragic hardships caused by lithium-ion battery fires,” wrote Velázquez. “The livelihoods and well-being of many American workers rely upon the safety of their vehicles, and they are still waiting on the federal government to act.”

Porcelli: CTE, Our Time Is Now! (3/9)

A slogan that could also be the theme of this column. I’ve seen proof it’s now gaining widespread momentum.

Last week, I heard this message from dozens of students, faculty members, and parents, when I had the opportunity to observe the SkillsUSA student competition, at Thomas Edison CTE High School in Queens. There, hundreds of CTE students from across the city competed in various tests of their technical and job skills taught by their outstanding faculties.

In their annual SkillsUSA regional competition, students demonstrated their newly acquired abilities in areas like: automotive, electrical, carpentry, photography, computers, and several other career tracks. Not only did the students compete with one another in their respective areas, I am told, they also organized the entire event themselves. Every aspect of the day was most impressive, and all the participating students, faculty, and administrators, should be extremely proud of their accomplishments.

SkillsUSA, the largest organization dedicated to preparing students for technical, skilled and service careers, has been an integral part of career and technical education since 1965, with a mission of improving the quality of our skilled workforce.

Their goal is to help students achieve career readiness through partnerships with dedicated teachers in CTE schools. They team up with those schools to ensure that students have opportunities to grow their skills, learn how to be world-class leaders, and are prepared to reduce the growing job skills gap.

SkillsUSA organizes events, conferences, and programs to provide opportunities for students to grow their skills in many ways. Students learn essential job skills and other work essentials, by developing and showcasing their abilities through regional SkillsUSA Championships.

The program’s learning expectations are based on the skills sets needed by industry. This includes personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics. Participating students develop all the skill sets needed to make them valuable members of the workforce.

Across the country, students in SkillsUSA chapters participate in their Chapter Excellence Programs, where they receive invaluable experiences through planning and executing activities by applying the essential elements they learn in class.

The theme of SkillsUSA, “Our Time is Now,” conveys to students, now is their time to develop employability skills, demonstrate those skills, and take every opportunity to develop themselves into powerful skilled workforce leaders.

Their message to students: Training opportunities are available to you, so reach out and grab them NOW!

My message to school administrators: Make Career and Technical Education learning opportunities available to every student who wants to… reach out and grab them – and DO IT NOW!

End the skills gap now – CTE for ALL!

More here:

In Our Opinion: Scrutiny of Gambling Industry Needed

Coney Island. Citi Field. Yonkers.

These are just some of the neighborhoods that could possibly see casino’s built in their backyard, as the state is considering bids for three downstate casinos. While casinos could be a boom for certain industries such as construction, the high social costs of proliferating gambling could have serious effects on everyday New Yorkers.

Voters supported a ballot measure for up to seven commercial casinos across the state back in 2013. Four of these casinos have already opened upstate since and according to a 2020 State Comptroller report, the economic return of these casinos isn’t clear.

Flushing residents recently resisted the idea of having a casino, comparing Cohen’s pitch for a casino by Citi Field, saying it was exploitative and compared it to when the west pushed opium into Asia, according to a report from HellGate.

While gambling is an easy revenue stream that often goes to schools and other important vital services, having New Yorkers lose their money. Often it is the poorest and most vulnerable people who are susceptible to gambling issues.

A 2014 report from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions found that poorer people are twice as likely as other income groups to have gambling problems.

While we don’t believe gambling should remain illegal and therefore exist in the black market, we have to to have a balanced system that prioritized the well-being of local at-risk residents including major regulations of casino/gambling advertising, how and what data can be used in online targeted advertising (if at all), as well as robust programs for gambling addiction.

House Ethics Committee Opens Santos Investigation

By Matthew Fischetti

U.S. Representative George Santos is facing yet another investigation.

The House Ethics Committee announced on March 2 that they opened up an investigation into the congressman..

Santos is specifically being investigated in regards to “unlawful activity” in relation to his 2022 congressional campaign, failure to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House, violation of federal conflict of interest laws relating to his role in a firm providing fiduciary services, and engaging in sexual misconduct to an individual seeking employment in his office.

Santos’s government Twitter account said on March 2 that ”Congressman George Santos is fully cooperating. There will be no further comment made at this time.”

Politico previously reported that the FBI opened an investigation into allegations that he took money meant for a disabled U.S. Navy veteran’s service dog. Back in December, the Nassau County D.A. also announced that they too were investigating the lying congressman

Santos is also facing charges from Brazilian prosecutors for check fraud charges levied against him back when he was 19-years-old.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy previously said that if Santos is found to have broken the law, “we will remove him,” per ABC News.

Queens Centers for Progress hosts ‘Evening of Fine Food’

By Stephanie Meditz


From fine cuisine that reflects Queens’ diversity to Jim Altamore’s smooth Frank Sinatra covers, Queens Centers for Progress’s 27th annual “Evening of Fine Food” was a night to remember.

Over 40 vendors donated their time and food to an event that raises funds for children and adults in the borough with developmental disabilities.

Attending restaurants included Aigner Chocolates in Forest Hills, Bourbon Street in Bayside and Mezze in Whitestone.

“QCP is all about community,” Wendy Gennaro, QCP’s director of development, said. “Our ultimate goal is to enrich the community by promoting independence, inclusion and integration of the people who we serve.”

To raise money for its services, QCP offered several raffles and a silent auction.

“The story of this organization is amazing, going back 70 years. [It] started as a group of families whose children needed services, and they wanted to share that need, that hope,” presenter Greg Mocker from PIX11 said. “It grew into what we are today, now providing service and support to 1,200 individuals with intellectual disabilities…The goal of the services is to create what we all want: a better quality of life.”

Each Evening of Fine Food gives “Chef of the Year” awards to community members who dedicate themselves to the wellbeing and culture of the Queens community.

QCP honored The Leadership Team at Stop & Shop with a Chef of the Year award for their commitment to its supported employment program.

Various Stop & Shop locations throughout the borough have hired individuals who receive services, and employment has given them a stable income and a sense of community.

QCP recognized Veronica Tsang as a diamond sponsor.

Melissa Cange, QCP’s assistant director of vocational services, presented The Leadership Team at Stop & Shop with their award.

“We would like to thank Stop & Shop for their decades of support and partnership that has allowed people in our program the opportunity to become more independent through employment,” she said.

Queens College President Frank Wu was also honored with a Chef of the Year award.

He has dedicated his career in law and higher education to celebrating diversity and empowering Queens residents to reach their fullest potential.

“It’s just great to be Chef of the Year working with a charity that does so much throughout the borough,” he said. “Let’s continue to help everyone in our community reach their best.”

The third Chef of the Year award went to Brett Swanson, senior manager of community affairs and social impact at Grubhub.

“I really focus on supporting our local independent restaurants as well as addressing food insecurity…around the five boroughs of New York City,” he said. “This is my brainchild, we started this over a year ago. I want to get to those who need food the most.”

The Claire Shulman Spirit of Community award commemorates her legacy — she was a registered nurse at Queens Hospital Center and later the first woman to be Queens Borough President.

The award recognizes a community member who embodies her love for the Queens community.

NYPD Detective Tanya Duhaney was this year’s recipient.

“Detective Tanya Duhaney’s social media accounts are filled with endless selfies, including smiling faces of colleagues and the people whom they serve. For this selfless 24-year veteran of the NYPD, this comes as no surprise,” deputy chief Christine Bastedenbeck said. “For her kindness and her compassion, she is able to build a bridge between the police department and the community. She knows that in the process, she is helping people in the neighborhood of Southeast Queens, which is where she grew up.”

Duhaney led several events for Patrol Borough Queens South’s Community Affairs unit, including senior luncheons, barbecues for children living in shelters and parades for people with disabilities.

“Even though I am from Southeast Queens, I go everywhere. And now I’m citywide, so I’m able to spread love more throughout the city of New York. I’m able to help more people in need, regardless of anything,” she said.

QCP executive director Terri Ross recognized Veronica Tsang as a diamond sponsor for her generosity and dedication to the organization.

Also in attendance was Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

“Coming out of this pandemic, we know that those with disabilities suffered more than anyone else, because historically there has not been a lot of support for our individuals with disabilities,” he said. “But this organization, the work that you’re doing each and every day to support those who are not victims but victors in their struggle, is something that we want to commend you for.”

Richards expressed his hope to install more housing and services in Queens to support people with disabilities.

“One of the things I love about being Borough President is that you can really get a taste of the world right here in Queens County,” he said.

QCP’s sponsors donated almost $100,000 to Evening of Fine Food.

“We really would not be able to pull this off without our sponsors. These are the true heroes of the evening,” Ross said.

Astoria Generating Station will convert to renewable energy

Will start powering homes in late 2020s

By Matthew Fischetti


Western Queens pols and community leaders packed into the gymnasium of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens last week to celebrate a historic investment towards renewable energy.

At the Friday announcement, it was unveiled that the Astoria Generation Station located on 20th Ave. will be transformed into a converter station for renewable energy, named the Astoria Gateway for Renewable Energy. The new plant is estimated to power 1 million homes starting in the late 2020s with construction for the site predicted to begin in 2025, pending

The project will be completed by Beacon Wind,  which is a 50-50 partnership between energy provider Equinor and the gas company BP.

Former Astoria Councilman and current C.E.O of the VBGCQ, Costa Constantinides, noted the historical and personal ramifications that the high concentration of plants in the neighborhood, known as Asthma Alley, has had.

“My own son, I remember when he was young – having an asthma medication, a liquid, another medication. Then taking something to settle his stomach because  he just took all of that. Then he ate breakfast. Then he would have to put a nebulizer over his face. Not just when he was sick, that was just Tuesday,” Constantinides said.

Officials and activists rallied outside the power plant two years ago when the previous owner NRG wanted to convert the turbines into a natural gas based plant.

“First, I want to acknowledge the change this all around the hundreds of organizing volunteers who worked so hard to change the status quo to make this celebration, what it is today,” said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer who joined the protests and even testified in front of the Public Service Commission, the entity which regulates public utilities throughout the state.

“But we wanted to send a message for both this community and the entire state who were serious about the transition to clean energy,” he continued. “They [critics]were saying it’s a false choice between jobs and climate justice. Well that was bullshit.’

Schumer also noted in his speech that he wants to make Long Island, including the Brooklyn and Queens parts, the “offshore wind center of the county.”

“If we had listened to the words of NRG all those years ago or a day like today would never have happened,” said Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani, who represents parts of Astoria and participated in the protests against NRG. “This is a repudiation of the idea that fossil fuel executives should set the limits of possibility in Astoria. In New York City, in New York state and across this country.”

Equinor also announced a million dollar partnership through Beacon Wind to build a Technology and Media center along with a $750,000 over ten year commitment to help fund a Science and Technology program for youth at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. Morris said that the program aims to be a gateway for New York children to have opportunities to enter the renewable energy sector.

“ I’ve spent 68 years here in Astoria. And I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the difference when it comes to the air,” former Resident Association President and current Astoria Houses resident Claudia Croger said.

Croger said that when she moved into the neighborhood her seven kids didn’t suffer from asthma but that three of her grandchildren did due to the power plant’s effect on the local air quality.

“It gives me joy to know that change is coming,” she continued. “Our children will be able to live in clean air and breathe. And their parents will gain because they won’t have to pay copays out of the lunch money, their food money, or clothes money.”

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