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Wed Dec 12, 2018, 07:12 AM

Amazon Hires Lobbyists for N.Y. Site and Tries to Fend Off Ocasio-Cortez

Amazon is trying to quell rising opposition to its plan for offices in New York, hiring well-connected lobbyists to make its case in the corridors of power even as it mounts a block-by-block neighborhood effort against the grass-roots network that helped push Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to victory.

Company executives, setting up shop in a hotel in Long Island City, Queens, where Amazon wants to build a new campus, have been walking the streets, sometimes accompanied by city officials, to listen to residents and drum up support.

The extent of their reach could be felt at City Hall on Tuesday where two newly hired lobbyists, Mark Weprin, a former Queens city councilman, and Ed Wallace, another former councilman, conferred with city officials in the soaring marble rotunda and made the case for the company. The timing was not coincidental: Amazon executives are expected to face withering questioning before the New York City Council at a public hearing on Wednesday.

The ground battle comes weeks after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, frequent antagonists who teamed up to lure Amazon, presented the deal to bring 25,000 of the company’s workers to Long Island City as a major victory. But they did not anticipate the sustained anger that would greet the news.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/nyregion/amazon-queens-lobbyists.html

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