The Candidates 2022: Brian Robinson for 10th Congressional District

For the primaries on June 28, I will be talking to candidates for both federal and state offices. First on the list: Brian Robinson, who is challenging incumbent Jerry Nadler for his seat in Congress. The top of the post is the result of a brief interview; scroll down for the answers to a short questionnaire. As these roll out, I will link to the posts on other candidates at the bottom.

For Tribecan Brian Robinson, deciding to run for Congress was a series of “aha” (my word) moments: the last of which was on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Just seeing that was devastating,” he said. “Yes, the Republicans and Trump were largely to blame, but it shows where we are as a country. That was tough to watch.”

So he sold his company this past January — a consumer advocacy firm that he founded in his apartment in 2009 — and launched his campaign in an effort to bring newer, younger (he’s 38) blood to Washington. (Jerry Nadler, 74, has been in office since 1993.) “I don’t believe that multi-decade elected officials are capable by definition of staying in touch with the people,” he said. “America is kind of a wreck right now and needs new leadership. It’s time for the elder millennials to step up.” (He’s also for 12-year term limits for House members.)

His former company, Churchill Credit Solutions, helps consumers and small businesses with debt relief. He started out doing every role himself, and grew it to eight people. But being a candidate, he said, is a full-time job, and he knew neither the company nor the campaign would succeed if he tried to do both. He and his wife, Lindsey, a real estate agent, have lived in Tribeca for five years — his daughter, Aria, now 4, was born here — and before that, in Chelsea and Noho. A Jersey native, he went to Tulane and studied political philosophy before landing here.

He’s on the board of Bogardus Plaza and he’s written a book, “Adderall Blues,” on his personal experience with ADD; he considers himself a mental health advocate.

Robinson said he wants to “localize” the position of Congressman, living here, commuting when necessary to DC, and finding ways to solve local issues on a federal level. He sited among others: the White Street jail (“Jails are for remote locations, not where small businesses have to live with it and small children have to look up at it.”); the challenges facing small business; personal safety; mental health services; the shelter system (“We have no mechanism to distinguish between the 80 percent of homeless who have fallen on hard times and the 20 percent who are violent.”).

“These are all national issues. We are not the only city experiencing these problems,” he said. He’s learned that by spending the past weeks working the streets across the district (it’s famously defined as Zabar’s to Nathan’s) and he’s grown to love Hell’s Kitchen and Borough Park. Its reminded him that people in general are warm and friendly, something not seen often among US Reps. “We can disagree without anger and toxicity.”

Why should voters elect you and not your opponent(s) based on policy and approach?
Our country is at a real breaking point. As it stands, it’s not in a state I would want my daughter to grow up in. It’s disheartening, because I love this country. I think the MAGA crowd has highjacked this idea of patriotism and transformed it into something toxic and exclusionary. People are tired of being negative about their country. The polarities on both sides of the aisle take up all the oxygen in the media, and the constant nastiness adds a sense of negativity to the psyche of everyday people. Multi-decade incumbents can’t claim to have their finger on the pulse of the lives of everyday New Yorkers. To an extent, they are incentivized to stoke the fire in D.C.

I plan to bring civility and respectful discourse back to our nation’s capital. As a moderate, I feel I am best situated to do so, especially in what is expected to be a Republican dominated House and Senate come 2023. We want people who can get things done. While this is a Federal position, our district’s interests are local. I’ve lived in Tribeca for over five years (and NYC for 16). My daughter was born in Tribeca. Tribeca is not so unlike the rest of district 10. People want to feel safe. They don’t want to see their beloved small businesses shuttering, and they want to feel free to pursue the things that make them happy.

We need cooler heads and bigger hearts in D.C. We need new leadership, and new generations to step up. I will maintain the liberal values I hold dear, while offering real pragmatic solutions to the challenges we face today.

What are your highest priorities for New York and the nation?
Public safety and quality of life are first and foremost. We need to reign in the violence and bring federal oversight to the government contracted homeless shelters that are accepting $3.5 Billion in tax payer money while providing inadequate results.

Violent hate crimes amongst Jewish and Asian Americans are surging three-fold. The LGBT community is having issues, particularly in Hell’s Kitchen. I’ll develop a grant to assist law enforcement with prevention and proper categorization of hate crimes. As a Jewish guy, I’m particularly sensitive to the notion of anyone being attacked because of race or lifestyle.

I’ll empower small businesses with a 6% Federal tax cut to promote growth and prosperity. This is well deserved, given the devastation to small businesses brought on by the pandemic. Even during normal times, it’s too difficult to run a small business in NYC. This freed up cashflow will allow for reinvestment, and in time, more tax revenue by virtue of increased business incomes.

Assuming your victory, choose a single issue you would prioritize in the coming term – name it and describe what you want to accomplish.
Public safety and quality of life are everything. Without that, we cannot safely raise our children, run a business, or focus on climate change initiatives. The foundational function of government to keep the people safe, and it has not done a good job.

Name three ways that local issues important to you as a Tribeca resident can be solved (or helped) from a federal perch.
1. Empower our small businesses. A substantial aspect of Tribeca’s charm and character come from our local shops. We need to protect them.

2. I am local and ultra-responsive. This district has been deprived of a Congressman that feels approachable and present. I will be here for the community. Some may know me from my volunteer work at Bogardus Plaza. (I keep the grandfather clock ticking) My family is here. Many of my friends are here. I will be there for them always. Those who know me, know it’s who I am

3. I would direct Federal funds to adding and beautifying the greenspace here and across the district. Quality of life is only enhanced when our parks are funded and new natural refuges are created.

What committees would you like to sit on if elected?
1. Small Business Committee. As manager of a successful small business for over 12 years (recently sold to focus on public service), I am uniquely qualified to help small businesses achieve their goals nationwide

2. Federal Oversight Committee: We need oversight for mental health and homeless shelters.

3. Education Committee. I am a mental health advocate and author of a book about ADHD. My interests are helping those with different learning styles in addition to maintaining rigorous and merit-based curriculums in schools. It’s in our national best interest to keep schools competitive while nurturing the development of each student’s unique mind and natural talents.

How can Congress mitigate the effects of this conservative Supreme Court?
Now that SCOTUS plans, in a seemingly arbitrary and unnecessary endeavor, to revisit and overturn Roe vs. Wade, it is up to Congress to protect women’s rights. I will fight ardently to make this happen at the legislative level. This is a disrespectful, and frankly antiquated reversion of progress made in the fight for women to have sovereignty over their own bodies. I won’t stand for it.