Attorney General Letitia James Addresses D-LMA Members at Fall Breakfast

D-LMA president Jessica Lappin, New York State AG Letitia James and Brookfield Properties chair Ric Clark at the D-LMA Fall Breakfast and Networking Event

New York State Attorney General Letitia James joined the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association on September 17, 2019, at the Fall Breakfast and Networking event. “I come here with the knowledge that this organization has never been solely about the business of business,” James told D-LMA members. “You are the embodiment of the positive power of public-private collaboration.”

After citing a few of her office’s current priorities, including unfolding litigation against Purdue Pharma’s owners, James delivered a comprehensive presentation on three topics she deemed vital to Lower Manhattan stakeholders: the 2020 census, data security and climate change.

James elaborated on challenges to a fair, accurate 2020 New York census, including insufficient funding, digital divide issues and disinformation campaigns. She urged D-LMA members to join her in mobilizing the largest get-out-the-count campaign in history. “The census determines how much New York receives in critical infrastructure funding,” James said, “as well as funding for a host of critical safety net programs that contribute to a thriving economy. Any change in federal funding could impact you and your business. New York could actually lose seats in Congress and thus electoral votes. That would impact you and your business.”

The attorney general stressed data security as fundamental to maintaining a resilient business. “New York just got a much-needed upgrade in data protection through the enactment of the new SHIELD law,” James continued, “which requires companies to adopt reasonable administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect private information. We intend to vigorously enforce that law.”

With regard to climate change, James emphasized her office’s efforts to block the EPA from rollbacks on lifesaving protections to air and water. She especially stressed the need to contest “the EPA”s issuance of a Certificate of Completion to the General Electric Company for its removal of toxic chemicals from the Hudson River, despite evidence that concentrations remain dangerously high in portions of the river.”

In closing, James stated: “As your attorney general, I am committed to leading an office that ensures a level playing field where businesses can thrive… If there are unnecessary inefficiencies in the system or some burdensome regulation that’s not really protecting anyone, then let’s cut some red tape. If you have suggestions for better ways to oversee a given issue, let’s hear them. And let’s never forget we share a common goal, to build a New York and a Lower Manhattan that is primed for economic growth and works for everyone.”

Prior to the talk, D-LMA president Jessica Lappin introduced James and praised her long record of fighting for vulnerable and marginalized communities. “Tish was the first African-American woman to win citywide office,” Lappin noted. “And she’s now the first African-American, and first woman, to win statewide office as our attorney general. She’s a lifelong New Yorker, and when I served with her on the city council I saw firsthand just how hard she can fight—until she wins.”

The event was hosted by WilmerHale.