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Quinn Pledges New CUNY Campus in Brooklyn Navy Yard in Tech Speech

By Mathew Katz | May 29, 2013 2:31pm
 Speaker Christine Quinn proposed several initiatives to help spur the city's tech sector.
Speaker Christine Quinn proposed several initiatives to help spur the city's tech sector.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

FLATIRON — City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn pledged to create a new CUNY campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and build a tech hub in Long Island City as part of a sweeping agenda laid out on Wednesday.

Quinn — who was set to face off with former congressman Anthony Wiener for the first time at a mayoral debate in the evening — laid out the platform after a week of highly focused media attention on her rival, in the hopes of making the election about policy, and "not about how loud you can yell," or "how many talk shows you're on."

Her speech focused on improving New Yorkers' internet access and technology education, as well as creating more tech jobs throughout the five boroughs.

"I believe by 2020, we can create as many as 75,000 new jobs in the tech community for New Yorkers," Quinn said at General Assembly, a co-working hub and tech training center in Flatiron.

The new CUNY campus, which Quinn said she wanted to make happen "in the very near future," would offer an advanced manufacturing training program.

Quinn also hoped to create a "tech cluster" in Long Island City, where online companies could easily connect to the new Cornell campus on Roosevelt Island just a subway stop away — along with emerging companies in North Brooklyn.

Quinn also pledged to bring high-speed internet access to the whole city, aiming to make New York the most wired city in the country by 2018.

"We need tech businesses [to have] the freedom to move wherever they want — as long as they don't leave the five boroughs," she said.

Quinn's plan also included upgrading the government's technology, creating myCityHall, a sort of online 311 that New Yorkers could use to apply for affordable housing, pay a water bill or get a small business permit.

To help implement the plans, Quinn said she wanted to create an Office of Innovation and a chief innovation officer in City Hall, pledging to "steal" top talent away from the tech industry and promising to make technology City Hall's core business.

"We need to hang a sign on our door that says not just Open for Business, but Open for Innovation," she said.

Similarly, she pledged to open a tech company "concierge" in City Hall if elected, with the goal of giving entrepreneurs tools to be successful in New York.

Quinn also wants to improve science, technology, engineering and math training in the city's public school, reiterating her pledge to replace textbooks with tablets. She would also provide more computer programming training for kids and offer career training to turn science and math teachers into computer science educators.

Quinn also proposed creating city-run free summer tech training camps that would teach kids to code.

"We need to create — and we can — a true cradle to career system for tech education," she said.