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Sheryl Sandberg Endorses Christine Quinn for New York City Mayor

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, August 16 2013

Quinn on an LIC Tech Tour in June with Jukay Hsu and CM Jimmy van Bramer (Coalition for Queens/Facebook)

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is endorsing Christine Quinn for mayor of New York City, the Quinn campaign announced today, as the current City Council Speaker outlined her plans to promote the growth of the city's technology sector with investments in Long Island City, Queens.

"With some smart investments and planning, Long Island City will help lead the way in making New York City the next tech capital of the world,” Quinn said in a statement, emphasizing the importance of expanding workforce training and improving transportation "to lay the foundation for the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs."

Specifically, Quinn is proposing to connect the neighborhoods of Roosevelt Island, site of the planned Cornell/Technion technology campus, Long Island City and DUMBO, site of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, with Wi-Fi equipped bus service and to establish a new Select Bus route between those areas and Manhattan.

She also proposes to establish Long Island City's first tech incubator for tech entrepreneurs and businesses to offer low-cost, flexible office space for "homegrown" tech companies in the city, giving priority to companies affiliated with the Cornell/Technion campus.

In addition, Quinn plans to work with established technology companies to build a Techforce1 center that would provide training and support for emerging companies and new workers. That project would mirror what she says was the successful creation of a Workforce1 center focused on the manufacturing industry.

In the announcement, Quinn also emphasizes expanding the CUNY Tech Apprenticeship Program and Access to Code programs. The CUNY TAP program aims to train students in advanced job-specific programming skills and offer them apprenticeship and internship opportunities at New York City companies, while the Coaltion for Queens' Access Code program aims to teach coding skills to women, minorities and immigrants. For the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years, the Coalition for Queens received $65,000 in City Council funding for a workforce development program bringing tech education to CUNY campuses.

In addition to Sandberg, the Quinn campaign also announced support from other members of the technology community including Dawn Barber, co-founder of the NY Tech Meetup, Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox, Ryan Davis, VP Community of Vocativ, Jukay Hsu, the founder of the Coalition for Queens, Paul Murphy, investor and entrepreneur at Betaworks, Charlie O'Donnell, partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures and Leanne Pittsford, co-founder of Lesbians Who Tech.

Quinn's proposals today build on the tech policy items she has announced previously as part of her campaign and as part of a recent video discussion session with the NY Tech Meetup.

"We're really still in a real estate EDC mindset," she said in that discussion, referring to the Economic Development Corporation. "One of the things I want to do is break open EDC to the 21st century economies that are going to diversify New York."

Her campaign has also emphasized technology to reach out to voters, from releasing a mobile app to spending money on Facebook advertising.

Last year, the Coalition for Queens worked with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's New York City Regional Economic Development Council to incorporate Queens tech companies and the area's start-up community into the state's long-term planning, and the group is urging Cuomo to make the borough the site of a business incubator and an Innovation Hot Spot.

Hsu and other members of the technology community are also hosting an event in support of Reshma Saujani, a candidate for New York City Public Advocate and founder of Girls Who Code. However, Seth Barron, a writer for City and State, which covers New York state and city government, recently expressed some skepticism about the program's ambitions.

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