About Michael Gianaris
Deputy Majority Leader
- Rules Member
Senator Michael Gianaris serves as Deputy Majority Leader and proudly represents western Queens. Guided by the principle that our government should level the playing field between everyday New Yorkers and powerful private interests, Senator Gianaris is a progressive champion for tenants’ rights, better subways, election reforms and a fairer criminal justice system. Senator Gianaris is excited to be in the leadership of the largest Democratic majority in over a century which will deliver on progress after years of lost opportunity.
A child of immigrant parents, Senator Gianaris was born and raised in Astoria, Queens, where he continues to reside. He is the product of New York City public schools and graduated from Fordham University and Harvard Law School before setting his sights on a career in public service. As a first-generation American, Senator Gianaris knows the struggle of immigrant families and leads the fight against harmful federal policies that tear apart families and unfairly discriminate against immigrant communities. He works with community groups to reunite families separated at the border and wrote legislation barring discrimination based on immigration status.
In a city with millions of renters, Senator Gianaris always stands with tenants. In addition to consistently supporting better rent laws to abolish vacancy decontrol and preferential rents, he authored legislation to eliminate the often-abused Major Capital Improvements (MCI) and Individual Apartment Improvements (IAI) programs, taking on unscrupulous landlords like the Trump organization. Senator Gianaris does not accept campaign donations from real estate developers.
Senator Gianaris is a chief critic of the MTA, fighting for transit riders, pushing for the improved service and increased accessibility New Yorkers need. He understands New York cannot function without reliable mass transit, which is why he authored a proposal establishing a millionaire’s tax to generate dedicated funding for the troubled agency, as well as supporting congestion pricing.
New York has the second-lowest voter turnout in the United States, ranking 48th in 2018. When more New Yorkers vote, their government is more accountable. Senator Gianaris wrote legislation for Automatic Voter Registration and sponsors bills to enact early voting and vote by mail.
With a strong belief that we must live up to our highest ideals of “justice for all,” Senator Gianaris is working hard to transform our criminal justice system. Because people should not lose their freedom just because they are poor, Senator Gianaris wrote the Bail Elimination Act to end bail in New York. He also wrote legislation to create an Innocence Commission to review wrongful convictions.
Our state has many unfunded needs and too many misplaced priorities. Senator Gianaris continues to do battle against wasteful corporate welfare, including New York’s $3 billion giveaway to Amazon, to ensure actual priorities like truly affordable housing, better mass transit and improved schools are fully funded.
New York’s future is bright and Senator Gianaris knows a progressive agenda cannot be accomplished alone. He is proud to work with other thoughtful leaders to deliver results for our state, including his new Senate colleagues who will work together to remake New York for the better.