Grassroots Local & Accomplished Legislator
, a lifelong resident of New York City born and raised in Queens, has lived in Greenwich Village for over 40 years. Her political activism began in college and she is still strongly involved in community organizing. As a representative of Lower Manhattan fueled by her grassroots activism, she has been a strong advocate for civil rights, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ rights, social justice, animal protections and environmental preservation, funding for the arts, and tenants’ rights
Deborah’s recent legislative accomplishments include the passage of the Reproductive Health Act
, codifying Roe v. Wade in New York State law, for which she was the lead sponsor–steering its successful passage through the Assembly in multiple years before it was finally passed by the State Senate in 2019; a bill requiring courts to consider the best interest of a companion animal when determining custody of the pet
during a divorce proceeding; the renewal of the Loft Law
, which brings formerly commercial buildings up to residential code and protects current tenants, many of whom are artists, from eviction; and a bill authorizing New York City to expand a life-saving speed safety camera program
, allowing speed safety cameras to be installed in hundreds of school zones, an initiative proven to significantly reduce traffic crashes near schools.
In addition to her years of leading the Assembly’s work to secure abortion rights, Deborah has focused on a number of initiatives to protect women’s health, including the Women’s Health and Wellness Act
, a bill that promotes early detection and prevention of certain medical conditions affecting women, including breast cancer and osteoporosis and provides coverage for contraceptives,
which became law on January 1, 2003.
Deborah was the first openly LGBTQ member of the New York State Legislature, and was a leader in the fight for marriage equality
. She has championed numerous bills establishing the rights of LGBTQ people and families and was the primary sponsor of a Ban on the harmful practice of Conversion Therapy
, and the Hospital Visitation Act
, which established the rights of domestic partners to care for loved ones in medical facilities. She fought to pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA)
, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)
, which protects transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers from discrimination.
Deborah chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education
, which oversees all private and public higher education institutions, student financial assistance, and professional licensing. In this role, she is a strong advocate for increased support for higher education
and more resources for students with disabilities
, as well as professional licensing reforms
. Deborah also serves on the Ways and Means, Rules, Environmental Conservation
, and Governmental Operations Committees
, and is Chair of the Assembly’s Intern Committee
A graduate of the City University of New York’s Queens College, Deborah received a Master of Business Administration degree from Fordham University. She owned and managed a small printing business in Tribeca before becoming Deputy Director of General Services at the City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development, where she worked until May 1990.