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Diverse Leaders Urge Amazon to Reconsider New York

Today, a diverse group of business, labor and civic leaders issued an open letter to Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos in The New York Times, urging the company not to abandon plans to build a new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. Signatories argued that the majority of New Yorkers are eager to see Amazon and other tech companies invest and create jobs in the state join Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio in the commitment to support Amazon and the tech industry more generally as a valued contributor to the statewide economy. The letter was organized by the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit organization whose members include major employers and business leaders.

Dear Mr. Bezos:

New Yorkers do not want to give up on the 25,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 union construction and maintenance jobs, and $28 billion in new tax revenues that Amazon was prepared to bring to our state. A clear majority of New Yorkers support this project and were disappointed by your decision not to proceed. We understand that becoming home to the world’s industry leader in e-commerce, logistics and web services would be a tremendous boost for our state’s technology industry, which is our fastest growing generator of new jobs. As representatives of a wide range of government, business, labor and community interests, we urge you to reconsider, so that we can move forward together.

We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.

Governor Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval and Mayor de Blasio will work together with the governor to manage the community development process, including the workforce development, public education and infrastructure investments that are necessary to ensure that the Amazon campus will be a tremendous benefit to residents and small businesses in the surrounding communities.

New York attracts the best, most diverse talent from across the globe. We are a dynamic new center of the country’s most inclusive tech economy. We all hope you reconsider and join us in building the exciting future of New York.

Sincerely,

Plinio Ayala, President & CEO, Per Scholas, Inc.

Ajay Banga, President & CEO, Mastercard

Gilda Barabino, Dean of Engineering, CCNY

Rob Basch, President, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy

Hon. Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive

Eric Benaim, CEO, ModernSpaces

Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Warby Parker

Seth Bornstein, Executive Director, Queens Economic Development Corporation

Josh Bowen, Owner, John Brown Smokehouse

Charles Boyce, President and CEO, Boyce Technologies, Inc.

Mary Cunningham Boyce, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University

John Catsimatidis, Chairman & CEO, Red Apple Group, Inc.

Gianna P. Cerbone, Owner & Chef, Manducatis Rustica VIG; President, Queens Council on the Arts and Board Member, LIC YMCA

Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & Managing Director, General Catalyst Partners

Mark A. Christie, President, Hunters Point Community Development Corporation

Mario Cilento, President, NYS, AFL-CIO

Claudia Coger, Tenant Association President, Astoria Houses

Michael L. Corbat, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup Inc.

Hon. David Dinkins, Former Mayor, City of New York

Danny Donohue, President, Civil Service Employees Association

Donna Drimer, President, Matted LIC

Hazel Dukes, President, NAACP New York State Conference

Catherine Engelbert, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte

Hector J. Figueroa, President, 32BJ SEIU

William E. Ford, Chief Executive Officer, General Atlantic LLC

James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley

Thomas Grech, President & CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce

Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green, Mount Neboh Baptist Church & President of MPAC (Mobilizing Pastors & Communities)

George Gresham, President, 1199 SEIU

Andrew Hamilton, President, New York University

Christopher Hanway, Executive Director, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement

Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue Airways Corporation

Jukay Hsu, Founder & CEO, Pursuit

Glenn H. Hutchins, Co-Founder, North Island

Dr. Angelo Ippolito, Owner, LIC Chiropractic

Hon. Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives

Marion Jeffries, President, NAACP Astoria/LIC Branch

Kristina Johnson, Chancellor, State University of New York

Hon. Pete King, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives

Jelena Kovacevic, Dean, Tandon School of Engineering, New York University

Gary LaBarbera, President, Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

Mary Beth Labate, President, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities

Kevin S. Law, President & CEO, Long Island Association

Joey Levin, Chief Executive Officer, IAC

Anthony Lopez, Executive Director, Zone 126

Elizabeth Lusskin, President, Long Island City Partnership

Hon. Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representative

Rev. Corwin Mason, Community Church of Astoria CAC

Felix Matos Rodriguez, Chancellor Designee, The City University of New York

Bill McDermott, Chief Executive Officer, SAP

Hon. Gregory Meeks, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives

Gail Mellow, President, LaGuardia Community College

Heidi Messer, Co-Founder & Chairman, Collective[i]

Edward J. Minskoff, President, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.

Marc Morial, Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League

Anne Cotton Morris, Citywide President and Tenant Association President, Woodside Houses

Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers

Deanna M. Mulligan, President & CEO, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Hon. Catherine Nolan, Assemblywoman, New York State Assembly

Jon Oringer, Founder & CEO, Shutterstock, Inc.

Charles E. Phillips, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Infor

Rev. Gilbert Pickett, Mount Horeb Baptist Church

Martha Pollack, President, Cornell University

Miriam Porto, Owner, Madera Cuban Grill & Steakhouse and R40 Argentinian Restaurant

Frank “Turtle” Raffaele, Founder, COFFEED

Scott Rechler, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, RXR Realty LLC

Hon. Max Rose, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives

Steven Rubenstein, Chairman, Association for a Better New York

Robert Rubin, Former Secretary, U.S. Treasury

William C. Rudin, Co-Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company, Inc.

Kevin P. Ryan, Chairman & Founder, Zola, Workframe, Nomad Health, MongoDB, Inc.

Julie Samuels, Executive Director, Tech:NYC

Kris Schrey, President, Long Island City Parents Group

Carlo Scissura, President & CEO, New York Building Congress

April Simpson, Tenant Association President, Queensbridge Houses

David M. Solomon, Chairman & CEO, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman, Tishman Speyer

Rob Speyer, President & CEO, Tishman Speyer

Douglas C. Steiner, Chairman, Steiner Studios

Alan Suna, Chief Executive Officer, Silvercup Studios

Hon. Thomas R. Suozzi, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives

Steven R. Swartz, President & CEO, Hearst

Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Senior Pastor, Center of Hope International & Co-Founder, Urban Upbound

Dennis Walcott, President & CEO, Queens Library

George H. Walker, Chairman & CEO, Neuberger Berman Group LLC

Peter T. Ward, President, New York Hotel Trades Council

Carol Wilkins, Tenant Association President, Ravenswood Houses

Fred Wilson, Managing Partner & Chairman, CSNYC; Co-Chair, Tech:NYC; & Partner, Union Square Ventures

Tom Wright, President, Regional Plan Association

Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City

Rev. Patrick Henry Young, First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst CAC