Carlina Rivera represents the 2nd Council District which includes the diverse neighborhoods of the East Village, Flatiron, Gramercy Park, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Murray Hill, and the Lower East Side. Since taking office in 2017, Carlina has fought for the affordability and livability of New York City by championing issues around affordable housing, small business survival, equitable healthcare, transportation, and quality of life issues. In addition to tackling these tough legislative issues, she has taken a stand for gender equity as the Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus by sponsoring legislation on sexual harassment and the gender wage gap.
Born and raised in the Lower East Side by a single mother who emigrated from Puerto Rico, Carlina understands the unique challenges District 2 constituents face. Beginning her career as a community organizer supporting seniors and homeless people in the Lower East Side, Carlina is a staunch advocate for safe and affordable housing for all New Yorkers. It was with New York City’s housing crisis in mind that Carlina introduced and passed legislation that provides critical oversight to the short-term rental industry which has impacted the availability of housing.
Carlina is making sure that the small business owners who serve our communities are able to thrive. She has passed legislation that requires the city to provide additional resources to small business owners and to keep track of storefront vacancies. Additionally, she has partnered with community organizations to create a special low interest loan program to help revitalize struggling businesses.
Understanding that safe and effective transportation is crucial to the lives of so many New Yorkers, Carlina has also introduced and passed legislation supporting public transportation, cyclists, and pedestrians, making the city safer for all. Carlina passed Intro 1163, which requires construction sites that block bike lanes provide adequate alternative lanes for cyclists. Protecting bike lanes is one of the many ways Carlina strives to make New York a greener city.
As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Hospitals Carlina has fought tirelessly for access to better healthcare for all New Yorkers. She has prioritized reproductive justice by creating the nation’s first Abortion Access Fund, ensuring anyone who comes to New York can receive abortion care regardless of ability to pay. Carlina has also fought to ensure that no New Yorker feels alone in the overwhelming and bureaucratic health care system by introducing legislation that proposes the creation of an Office of the Patient Advocate.
In addition to tackling these major issues that impact all New Yorkers, Carlina has worked to address many of the common complaints New Yorkers face, including the noise that keeps so many of us up at night. In 2019 Carlina introduced legislation that will require the Department of Buildings to cap the amount of After Hours Variance permits it issues to construction projects. Since taking office, Carlina has received calls every day from residents who have been woken up by construction, making it difficult to enjoy their homes.
Carlina was inspired to run for office when the Lower East Side was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and she organized volunteers to provide food, water, and emergency services to communities abandoned by the federal government. She has since secured millions of dollars for her district to improve services, programs, schools, and cultural institutions.
Carlina lives with her husband, pug, and turtle. She graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Journalism after attending local schools her entire life.