Meet Janet Peguero
Alumna is first Dominican woman to serve as deputy Bronx borough president
In January, Janet Peguero ’11 was named deputy Bronx borough president. She is the first Dominican woman to serve in this role. The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) alumna has a decade of experience in the public and private sectors, as well as community organizing, and is working on projects aimed at increasing economic development and quality of life in the Bronx.
Binghamton Magazine: How does it feel to be chosen as deputy borough president — and to be the first Dominican woman chosen for this position?
Janet Peguero: It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the Bronx under the leadership of the first African-American woman borough president [Vanessa Gibson] and to become the first Dominican woman appointed as deputy Bronx borough president. The Dominican diaspora is one of the largest in the U.S., and it continues to grow in the Bronx.
As an immigrant raised by school aides, and a product of public assistance programs, I hope to inspire young girls and show them that people who look like them can do anything they set their minds to, including serving at the highest levels of government, bringing change to their communities regardless of their background and current circumstances.
BM: What are your goals as deputy borough president?
JP: It is no secret the Bronx has historically suffered with real inequities, from affordable housing, food insecurities, low health indicators, public safety and overall a lack of the same investment we’ve seen in other communities in the city. We will advocate for the necessary resources in all levels of government.
In my first four weeks in this role, we saw a devastating five-alarm fire where we experienced the loss of 17 of our neighbors, including a 2-year-old baby, a building explosion and different incidents of gun violence around the borough. The pandemic devastated us and further exacerbated the inequities that always existed.
We will work to ensure the Bronx is a borough for all of us, and that we have affordable housing, urban gardens with homegrown food, expansion of home ownership opportunities, community and trusts, support for new and existing Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, increased tourism and job creation.
BM: Tell us about your career prior to being named to this position.
JP: Prior to this role, I was an associate at Constantinople & Vallone Consulting, a government relations firm, focusing on and advocating for local nonprofits and affordable housing. I was successful at securing substantial increases in city funding on behalf of my nonprofit clients amid an economic crisis.
Before that, I worked at the New York City Department of Small Business Services as senior rezoning manager on citywide land use projects with a focus on the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. I was charged with ensuring residents had equitable access to city services, and with developing new programs in support of local economic development and job readiness.
I served as Bronx borough director for Amplify Her, an organization that works to increase the number of women in elected office. My work has also helped to increase voter turnout among Spanish-speaking residents.
BM: How did Binghamton and EOP help prepare you for your career?
JP: My time at Binghamton gave me the necessary tools to fight for my community. It gave me long-lasting friendships and lessons that have shaped me forever. As a first-generation college student, my EOP community afforded me the safety net I needed to succeed but, most importantly, constantly encouraged me to not give up even when the going gets rough. At Binghamton, I experienced many losses, from personal family circumstances to losing my dad a month before graduating. Every single body of the University worked together to ensure I reached my goal of graduating on time, without further disruptions. Although my father was not physically present to witness this moment, I felt him near and close through the support I received from my extended family at Binghamton.