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Dem lawmaker rips opposition to Amazon going into New York: 'Now we're protesting jobs'
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) on Friday voiced frustration over Amazon's decision to not open up shop in her New York district, something fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressives fiercely opposed.
Maloney said during an appearance on CNN's "OutFront" that the scrapped move was a missed opportunity and that she was "disappointed" in the decision, while putting part of the blame on progressive politicians who organized against the company.
"I'm a progressive too, but I'm pragmatic," she said on CNN, adding that an Amazon headquarters in Queens would have turned the area into a tech hub for the East Coast.
"Twenty-five thousand jobs at $150,000 a minimum for the job...They were working with the community on job fairs and the other types of entry-level jobs that they would have," Maloney said. "We should be really diversifying our base of taxes, our base of businesses, we're too dependent on financial services."
"It used to be that we would protest wars, now we're protesting jobs. People are complaining about jobs coming. If this had gone through, it would have made overnight New York City the high-tech capital of the East Coast."
Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive firebrand and one of the move's staunchest opponents, celebrated when Amazon announced Thursday it was not opening up half of its second headquarters in Long Island City.
"Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world," she tweeted.
Amazon announced in November that after a lengthy search process that involved fielding proposals from cities across the country that it would open its new H2Q offices in New York and northern Virginia.
But the move was also met with fierce backlash from local and national activists who suggested the move would not lead to jobs for people already living in the area and make the community unaffordable for low-income residents. They also denounced a $3 billion tax incentive to the company.
"While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City," Amazon said in a statement on Thursday.