Daughter of Puerto Rican parents,Rosie was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She grew up in public housing and attended New York City public schools. Rosie received her B.A. in Metropolitan Studies and Political Science from New York University, and her law degree from Rutgers School of Law in Newark. Upon graduating in 1995, she received an IOLA Legal Services Fellowship and in 2003 was one of ten recipients awarded a Charles H. Revson Fellowship, a program on the future of the City of New York at Columbia University.
Rosie's professional career began as a tenant organizer and then Rosie went on to become a housing specialist at the Parodneck Foundation. Her work with tenants inspired her to enter law school. Later, at Brooklyn Legal Services, Rosie represented tenants in housing and welfare matters and counseled community-based organizations. She joined the Legal Services Staff Association and was a member of the United Auto Workers-National Organization of Legal Services Workers Local 2320.
Professional & Volunteer work:
Through her professional and volunteer work at non-profit agencies, Rosie has gained first-hand experience dealing with issues affecting all New Yorkers. She was on the board of directors of the Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union and interned at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Legal Action Center. She also completed a judicial internship with Civil Court Judge Richard Rivera. In addition, Rosie was the Public Interest Career Counselor at Rutgers Law School, where she was responsible for assisting a record number of fellowship students with placement at non-profits and public interest law firms.
Rosie served the diverse community of the Lower East Side as Female Democratic District Leader for four terms from 1997 to 2005. During that time she played a leading role in campaigns to save St. Brigid’s Church, to landmark CHARAS/old P.S. 64, to secure improved wages and working conditions for immigrant workers in the greengrocer industry, to preserve and create affordable housing, and to prevent the expansion of Con Edison’s East River Plant and the closing of the midtown Waterside Plant. As chief of staff and legislative aide to Councilmember Margarita Lopez, Rosie was known for her caring response to constituents’ concerns and her mastery of key issues before the Council. Currently Rosie serves on the board of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program at Rutgers School of Law, which provides interest-free loans to law graduates working for non-profits or government agencies.
As Manhattan District 2's New York City Council Member:
In 2006 Rosie was elected to the New York City Council from Manhattan’s District 2. There she has introduced legislation that would establish the right to counsel for seniors; language access; mold abatement; sanctions against restaurants that violate labor laws; and a ban on the display of exotic animals. She has been instrumental in landmarking buildings including CHARAS/El Bohio, the Wheatsworth Factory, Webster Hall, Elizabeth Home for Girls, Beth Hamedrash Synagogue, and St. Stephen’s Church, and has gained passage of three rezoning plans: East Village/Lower East Side, East River/Con Edison Site, and Phipps East Side Rezoning. As chair of the Council’s Subcommittee on Public Housing, she has secured $5.85 million for NYCHA developments in District 2. In addition, she has brought to the district $5 million for 22 schools, $6.2 million for social service and youth facilities, $8.25 million for cultural organizations, and over $7 million for libraries, parks, higher education, and housing for the disabled and for seniors. Rosie has worked in coalitions including Save St. Brigid’s Church and POP (Power of Peace Anti-Violence), as well as in ad hoc groups formed to publicize and prevent illegal hotels and phony demolitions.
In the Council, she has voted against Mike Bloomberg’s extension of term limits, the expansion of Columbia University, and the new Yankee Stadium. The Urban Justice Center’s Human Rights Project ranks Rosie fifth among 51 councilmembers for her stance on civil liberties, while the League of Humane Voters has given her a 100 percent rating on animal rights. Throughout her first term Rosie has advanced a progressive vision for her community and stood as a determined advocate for the needs and aspirations of her constituents.