More than 300 people filled the Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City to hear U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand address topics, including her plans to jumpstart the economy, immigration reform and health care at The Queens Courier’s “Power Breakfast.”
At the event, which attracted both business and community leaders, Gillibrand talked about the opportunity to enhance small businesses as one of the keys to improving the economy.
“If we want to grow our way out of this debt and out of this deficit, it means we are going to grow our way out of it by creating jobs through the small business sector,” Gillibrand said on Thursday, August 19.
She also talked about pending legislation that includes a $30 billion lending bill for community banks. Under the legislation, if the community banks accept these loans from the federal government and they lend, they would have to pay the loans back at 1 percent. However, if they accept the loans and do not lend, they would pay it back at 7 percent.
“That would be the incentive to get the lending flowing,” Gillibrand said.
During the event, panelists, including Queens College President Dr. James Muyskens, Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jack Friedman, Latin Lawyers Association of Queens County President Nestor Diaz, Mount Sinai Hospital Queens Executive Director Caryn Schwab, American Airlines Vice President Arthur Torno and Associate Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation Ron Shafran, asked Gillibrand questions on topics affecting their respective industries.
“Queens College is eager to work with Senator Gillibrand on higher education,” Musykens said. “She’s shown a commitment to higher education because she knows that it’s important for young people, and older people, to be prepared for the real world.”
The panel discussion was moderated by Peter Meyer, TD Bank’s New York City Market President. TD Bank, American Airlines, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Queens Public Television, Bombardier, Mount Sinai Hospital Queens, New York 1, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, The World Journal and Water’s Edge all sponsored the event.
“We are delighted to be sponsoring this event and other events like this throughout the city where we bring the business community together along with some of our great political leaders who have something to say about what goes on in small business and where we’re moving on that,” Meyer said.
In addition to hearing Gillibrand speak and answer questions, attendees had the opportunity to network with many familiar and new faces in the Queens business community and talk with political leaders including Assemblymembers David Weprin and Catherine Nolan, City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and former Borough President Claire Shulman.
“It’s an opportunity for businesses to get to know each other face to face,” said Bobbie Sheils, who works for DSZ Forensic Accounting & Consulting Services. “Here they can interact and understand what other business can do, either currently or eventually, to help one another.”