Yawson has campaigned to strengthen the county’s finances while reducing its spending and debt, attract more corporate businesses to communities of color and increase contracting opportunities for minority, women and veteran-owned small businesses. Yawson contends that the county’s $2.98 billion budget must be reduced to bring expenses in line with revenue. While she declined to identify specific areas to cut, Yawson said health, education and programs for middle-class families, seniors and veterans must be protected. “We can’t continue to spend more than we bring in to reduce our debt,” said Yawson, who also wants to make residents aware of the process to grieve their property taxes. Yawson contends small businesses in minority areas have been disproportionately locked out of county contracting opportunities. “We need much greater outreach in these communities,” said Yawson, who is also concerned that residents in minority neighborhoods have limited access to civil service jobs.
Yawson, 37, who was raised in Laurelton, Queens, and lives in Freeport, is making her first run for elected office in this Democratic primary. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University in 2002 and in 2009 earned both a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in entrepreneurship from the Wharton School, also at Penn. Yawson is the owner of Milestales, a boutique publishing house, and has an educational consulting practice. She previously worked as a senior counsel in corporate responsibility at Citigroup, as an associate at the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and also hosts a weekly radio program that airs in New York City. Yawson is the author of “Sunne’s Gift,” a children’s book on bullying. She is married with two boys.