Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ruben Diaz Jr. >

Ruben Diaz, Jr Bronx Borough President. 

1) What do you need to be leader?

Leading by example is key. Sometimes you have to show your constituents that you are willing to make the same sacrifices that you are asking of them in order to achieve overall success. A good example is our "#Not62" campaign, where we are emphasizing to the residents of The Bronx to live healthier lifestyles. It would not make sense for me to ask this of Bronxites, preach about the importance of healthy eating and exercise, and then I do the exact opposite. Nothing wrong with indulging with a cupcake here or there but a key component of "#Not62" is showing off the different ways to be healthy via social media.

2) Being Hispanic...Does it have any influence on your business?
Considering that 54.6% of The Bronx's population is Hispanic and considering that 37.6% of businesses owned in the borough are owned by Hispanics, absolutely, it does have an influence on how I go about business. Being bilingual, as well as being born and raised in The Bronx, I can make a connection with Bronx residents. Growing up in the burning Bronx of the 1970's and the 1980's, I have gone through similar experiences as a large portion of my constituents, helping me in understanding the needs of the community.

3) In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I don't believe in quitting, I believe in finding solutions. Because I have a lot of people depending on the decisions that I make, I cannot afford to cower to adversity. All you can do is keep going, pushing for results.

4) If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
If I could change one thing, I would have it so that whenever we go through the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Process], the public review process, that the borough presidents have veto power. The ULURP is whenever you have a project that is going to be developed on public property, and it has gone through the Request For Proposal process (RFP), or you need re-zoning – whether up-zone or down-zone an area – you have to go through the community board, the borough president and then the City Council. Currently, if the borough president is against a project, he or she can be overruled by the Council or the planning board. So I would have it where the borough presidents would have veto power.

I would also change that our budget be autonomous, being that we get elected by the people of our borough.

5) What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be an NBA basketball player. I was going to be a New York Knick in my mind.

6) Tell us about three people that you admire?
The three people I admire the most are my son, Ruben Diaz III – my son is just the best person on the planet. I admire U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and I admire NBA legend Magic Johnson.

7) For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I prefer lunch meetings. I'm more of an introvert in the morning and when I have meeting at night, sometimes they can go on longer than you expect. At lunch, you're just sharper and you have more pep in your step.

8) What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I sacrificed being around my wife when we were a young married couple. I got first elected into public office at the age of 23. I ran for office for the very first time at the age of 22. I sacrificed being around my sons. I was up in Albany, during my time on the State Assembly, three or four days a week, six to seven months out of the year for 13 years. That's a lot of sacrifices on your family time.

9) What is your favorite quote?
I have a lot of favorite quotes. Most recently, I used a quote in my "State of the Borough" address from former New York Governor the late Mario Cuomo's 1984 National Democratic Convention speech: "We believe in a government strong enough to use words like 'love' and 'compassion' and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities."

10)  Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I believe in this line of work, you have to be innovative, always thinking outside the box. There are always pitfalls along the way, especially dealing with different personalities, various groups and various entities with their own set of goals that require innovative thinking in order to find solutions everyone can live with. You have to be quick on your feet, navigating past those obstacles in order to do what's best for your constituents.

11)  A brief description of the Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, with a population of 1.4 million people, and is home to the largest Hispanic population in the city. Since I was elected as Bronx Borough President, in 2009, we've seen unprecedented, transformative growth having built nearly 16,000 new units of housing, and created more than 15,000 new jobs, with unemployment down nearly five percent and investments record highs. We have seen a lot of success and growth during my tenure office and we will continue to build on these successes in the coming years.

See Mr. Mr. Ruben Diaz Jr. Biography

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