Assembly Member Harvey Epstein represents the East Side of Manhattan, including the neighborhoods of the Lower East Side, East Village, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Murray Hill, Kips Bay, Tudor City and the United Nations.
Harvey has been a community leader for more than 20 years. Before he was elected to the Assembly, he served on Community Board 3 for 14 years as its board chair, and chair of its Land Use Committee. A public-school parent, Harvey is a former president of the District 1 President’s Council and former PTA president at the Neighborhood School (where his children attended). Harvey has engaged in numerous community struggles to protect low-wage workers, local day-care centers, and diversity in admissions at public schools. He is a former Co-President of CoDA (a local political organization) and has worked on numerous progressive campaigns over the past few decades.
Harvey’s efforts during his five-year tenure as a tenant member of the Rent Guidelines Board were crucial in successfully orchestrating the first and second rent freezes for one-year leases in the 47-year history of the Rent Guidelines Board. This historic achievement has helped millions of New Yorkers preserve their affordable rent-stabilized apartments.
An experienced leader and advocate for the progressive movement, Harvey has introduced, voted for, and supported legislation that protects the rights of LGBTQIA and non-binary New Yorkers, promotes environmental sustainability, supports public education, and makes voting easier. He has tackled deep inequities in the criminal justice system by fighting to end the excessive use of solitary confinement, to legalize adult use marijuana, expunge records for New Yorkers with marijuana related offenses, reform the parole system, and to make it easier for incarcerated people to earn a college degree. He has also been deeply invested in securing extensive protections for tenants, protecting the environment, saving small businesses, and creating new educational opportunities for people with disabilities.
In his first full term in office, Harvey co-authored and passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 that protects tenants and preserves affordable housing in New York City. He won the passage of legislation to create a dedicated funding stream for public transit, expand early voting for New Yorkers, codify Roe v Wade in the state of New York, and reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. He has introduced legislation to tax the ultra-wealthy to fund public housing, as well as legislation to create composting programs in all state agencies and reduce the use of plastic in our State. Harvey has supported the passage of hundreds of pieces of legislation and has been a progressive leader in the State Legislature. He continues to fight for racial and economic justice and systemic change through legislation.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Harvey used his district office as a staging ground to distribute hundreds of meals and personal protective equipment to residents in need. He partnered with nearby small businesses to introduce legislation to bail out struggling small business owners. In the 2021 budget cycle, he fought for and won a program to disburse over 1 billion dollars in relief to small businesses and small nonprofits, as well as 2.4 billion in aid to residential tenants.
As a member of the committee on People with Disabilities, he has been a leader on disability rights in the Assembly. In the context of the 2021 budget, he organized his colleagues and won a 2 million dollar outlay for college students with disabilities––the first time in decades the State has invested in students with disabilities at a significant level.
Harvey continues to build grassroots power within the district, encouraging constituents to get more involved in local politics by organizing a youth council for the 74th Assembly District, hosting many community forums, and consistently keeping the community in conversations.
Harvey sits on the Assembly committees on Corrections, Environmental Conservation, Higher Education, Housing, People with Disabilities, and Codes. He is Chair of the Committee on State-Local Relations and the Subcommittee on Retention of Homeownership and Stabilization of Affordable Housing. He is also a Member of the Asian-Pacific American Task Force and the Latino/Puerto Rican Task Force.
Harvey resides in the East Village with his wife, Anita; their children, Leila and Joshua; and their rescue-dog, Homer.