Antonio Reynoso, who has led Brooklyn for over a year as borough president, is striving to make pregnancy safer for Black Brooklynites and bring affording housing to his borough.
Last year, Reynoso launched a maternal health public education campaign called the Maternal Health Task Force, meant to connect people in Brooklyn with information and resources for better pregnancies.
"We're talking about expanding midwifery services, doula services, educating those communities pre-pregnancy, even doing education in high school to make sure that folks understand nutrition and just how they should be taking care of themselves," Reynoso told Shannan Ferry Saturday morning on NY1.
Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But in Brooklyn, Reynoso says Black birthing people are 9.4 times more likely to die from complications than their white counterparts.
"So to just to put it in perspective, we're even worse than the national average here in the city of New York," Reynoso said.
Reynoso is also focusing on adding more affordable housing to his borough, specifically in wealthier neighborhoods that have a high percentage of single-family homes.
"We're going to rezone these areas that are single-family homes into places that we can build more housing. Because there is space," Reynoso said. "Right now, the space is being used to house one family versus the potential to house 10 families. That's the conversation that we're starting to have."
Reynoso specifically noted Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay as two communities in Brooklyn that have developmental opportunities, but have not yet been asked to add more housing.
"South of Atlantic Avenue, we're going to be coming and having a conversation with these neighborhoods and asking them to do more," Reynoso said.
While Reynoso supports adding more affordable housing to his borough, he is unsure if he supports building a casino in Brooklyn.
"We need to talk about it in a more expansive way. I'm not sure [if I support it yet]," Reynoso said. "We have NYCHA developments that have no heat, no hot water, conditions with mold. And if we have an opportunity to think about how we can solve those issues [first], we should really be considering it."
Supporters and critics of a plan to bring a casino to Coney Island met earlier this month at a public engagement meeting hosted by Reynoso. Supporters say the casino will bring jobs and revenue to the area, but critics argue it will bring traffic and crime.