This week on All Ears, Abby talks food and food policy with New York State Senator Jessica Ramos. Jessica burst onto the New York political scene in 2018 when she and several other progressive candidates ousted a powerful group of conservative New York Democrats who had been crossing party lines to caucus with Republicans. She represents District 13 in Queens, where more than 24,000 food workers live in just three square miles. In 2019 Jessica helped pass the Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act, which gave farmworkers in upstate New York long overdue rights, things like overtime pay and unemployment insurance. She also pushed hard to remove New York City’s cap on street vending permits. In this week’s conversation with Abby, Jessica discusses her love of food, her love of Queens, the powerful influence of Julia Child’s unmitigated use of butter, and why our country is long overdue for comprehensive immigration reform. And you won’t want to miss the tasty story that kicks off the episode: All Ears Producer Christine Schomer profiles vendors who work in Corona Plaza, one of the most exciting and diverse outdoor food courts in the country–just blocks from Senator Ramos’ office.
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New York State Senator
Jessica Ramos represents New York’s 13th District in the State Senate, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and parts of Astoria, Elmhurst, and Woodside. Ramos chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, where she’s fought to pass historic legislation to grant farm workers basic rights, tackle child poverty, and secured $2.1B to create a fund for workers who have been excluded from pandemic-related relief. Senator Ramos was born in Elmhurst to undocumented Colombian immigrants, grew up in Astoria, and now lives in Jackson Heights with her two sons.