2013-06-19 / Front Page

AT&T’s Borough President Candidates Tech Forum

By Morgan Lee

Queens is positioned to become a major hub for tech innovation in New York City, which is why AT&T and the Coali-tion for Queens, along with Partnership for New York City, Code For Ameri-ca and Queens County Young Democrats, partnered to host the tech-based forum on June 6 with the candidates for Queens borough president. Prompted by the growing tech community and spirit of entrepreneurship residing in Queens, borough president candidates Councilmember Leroy Comrie, Melinda Katz and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., along with state Senator Jose Peralta, participated in the Queens Borough President Candidates Tech Policy Forum at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria to discuss their positions on Queens’ tech future, the importance of using science and technology in the classroom and the tech industry’s rapidly growing presence in the city.
Forum moderators Clare Trapasso of the New York Daily News and Kelly Faircloth of Betabeat focused on an array of tech-related topics affecting both Queens and New York City, including startup companies, digital media and tech industry policy; STEM and K-12 education; fiber connectivity and public WiFi access; applied Sciences NYC and Roosevelt Island’s Cornell NYC Tech Campus; opendata and open government; workforce development and tech training
“The tech sector growth in New York City has been astounding, and Queens has a real opportunity to further this growth. With the development of the Cornell Campus on Roosevelt Island, what we need to create is an innovation zone in Queens that will create opportunities for tech firms to establish themselves,” said Comrie. “We should look at innovation zones in other cities, like Boston and District 22@ Barcelona and create a technology business zone in Western Queens that will attract start-ups and firms. This zone can be comprised of housing for the new workforce, commercial office space with rental assistance, incentives for commercial development, open space and retail stores. I truly believe that the next borough president needs to spearhead this initiative.”
“Queens has enormous potential to compete with communities from around the world for the jobs of the future. As Queens borough president, I’m committed to helping build the infrastructure and workforce needed to create technology hubs across the borough to make these jobs a reality,” said Katz. “I’m also proud to support public Wi-Fi as well as open data and open government initiatives that will make information much more accessible to all of Queens.”
“Queens must be part of the story as New York City continues to become a worldwide tech destination. There’s no rule that says Manhattan has to be the center of the universe,” said Vallone. “The small businesses of the future will be startups created here and the entrepreneurs of the future will live in our neighborhoods. Therefore,  we should be fostering innovation and developing infrastructure right here in Queens so that this borough can support the middle class of today and for years to come.”

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