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nyc public advocate special election nyc public advocate candidates profiles nyc public advocate candidates melissa mark-viverito daniel odonnell jumaane williams michael blake ron kim eric ulrich nomiki konst rafael espinal candidates for public advocate special election nyc 2019

NYC Public Advocate Candidates in Election 2019

Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jumaane Williams, Daniel O'Donnell, Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich, Nomiki Konst, Ron Kim, Michael Blake & 9 Others are Running for this Office

nyc public advocate candidates photo public advocate candidates on tv winter 2019 nycFebruary 25, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 a few New Yorkers will go to the polls to select the next NYC Public Advocate.

Brief NYC Public Advocate History

The position was created in 1993, by renaming the office of the President of the City Council, which up until 1989, had held a seat on the New York City Board of Estimate until it was abolished that year.

The Public Advocate has a relatively small budget [under $4 million per year], a small department as measured by headcount and no voting power except in the cases where a deciding vote needs to be cast in the City Council. The real power of the Public Advocate is in that person's ability to influence the conversation regarding policy priorities and urgency.

Second in Line to Mayor de Blasio

And with Mayor de Blasio considering a run for the presidency - while quite a long shot at this point - the Public Advocate would be next in line to succeed him. There have been only four Public Advocates since the post was created, starting with Mark Green who made a run for Mayor and lost. Betsy Gotbaum followed Green, and she was followed by Bill de Blasio who managed to use the position as a spring board to win the Mayoralty. Letitia James succeeded de Blasio and she is now the NYS Attorney General. The City Council Speaker has been the interim Public Advocate since James took office in January 2019, and will give up the post following this election.


NYC Public Advocate Candidates in Election 2019

Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jumaane Williams, Daniel O'Donnell, Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich, Nomiki Konst, Ron Kim, Michael Blake & 9 Others are Running for this Office

February 25, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.

jumaane williams photo public advocate nycThe following is a brief description of eight of the leading candidates of the 17 candidates running for NYC Public Advocate.

1. Jumaane Williams - Brooklyn New York City Councilmember & Former Executive Director of New York Tenants and Neighbors

BIO - Jumaane Williams Brief Bio. Jumaane is a first generation immigrant of Grenadian heritage. At an early age he was diagnosed with Tourette's and ADHD [attention deficit disorder]. Nonetheless, Jumaane overcame these handicaps and went on to graduate with both a college degree and a masters degree from Brooklyn College.

CAREER - Jumaane Williams Career Summary. After graduating in the early 2000's, Jumaane worked as an Assistant Director for the Greater Flatbush Beacon School before becoming the Executive Director of New York Tenants and Neighbors, an advocacy group, where he fought for affordable housing. In 2009 Jumaane became a New York City Councilmember for some of the Brooklyn neighborhoods in the Flatbush and Marine Park area. Since then he successfully pushed for the reduction of stop n' frisk, and has ardently championed a whole host of issues for people with the two primary areas about housing and criminal justice reform. Jumaane made a run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018, performing well, but ultimately losing to Kathy Hochul.

ENDORSEMENTS - Jumaane Williams Summary of Key Endorsements. Some of the notable endorsements include from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, former Public Advocate Mark Green, NYC Councilmember Ben Kallos, two-time progressive state candidate [Governor / Attorney General] Zephyr Teachout, NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. Williams also received a number of endorsements from about a dozen different local labor unions, a number of Brooklyn and NYC progressive organizations, Kings County [Brooklyn] Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio, Alyssa Milano an actress and the New York Times Editorial Board.

CONTROVERSIES - Jumaane Williams Summary of Controversies. There was some conflict in the NY1 debate about Jumaane's evolving / changing conservative positions on gay marriage and abortion based on Jumaane's religious beliefs. Williams has said that he can separate his personal beliefs from his professional duties, but a Politico report in September 2017 noted that in a 2014 vote on a transgender issue, Williams abstained. In November 2018 there were allegations that Williams' broke a campaign pledge to not accept real estate developer donations in his run for Lieutenant Governor. Williams said he would look into the alleged donations and give them back ? [pending]. Accepting real estate developer donations is no crime, but in today's climate these donations are used as a proxy for integrity / independence.


2. Melissa Mark-Viverito - Former NYC Council Speaker & NYC Activist

BIO - Melissa Mark-Viverito Brief Bio. Melissa Mark-Viverito was born in Puerto Rico. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science and received a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch.

CAREER - Melissa Mark-Viverito Career Summary. After graduating in the 1990's, Mark-Viverito spent about a decade of her life involved in non-profits and grassroots organizations, before becoming the NYC Councilmember representing East Harlem in 2005. Mark-Viverito was the first Latina to represent Spanish Harlem / El Barrio. Melissa became NYC Council Speaker in 2013 through 2017 helping Mayor de Blasio make improvements to the NYC School system, add affordable housing units and reduce stop n' frisk. Melissa is the second openly gay woman to occupy the NYC Council Speaker position and she's been an advocate for gay rights, women's rights and the rights of people of color. And she's been an advocate for closing Rikers.

ENDORSEMENTS - Melissa Mark-Viverito Summary of Key Endorsements. Some of the notable endorsements come from NYC Councilmembers Adriano Espillat, Margaret Chin, Mark Levine and Catalina Cruz; LGBTQ Activist Melissa Sklar. And Mark-Viverito has also been endorsed by Latino, Women's, Immigrants groups, a local sanitation union and El Diario La Prensa, an Spanish language newspaper that's part of a much larger group.

CONTROVERSIES - Melissa Mark-Viverito Summary of Controversies. Given Mark-Viverito's very public position as the Speaker of the NYC City Council, she's been called into a few controversies. In the NY1 debate, her competitors noted she had accepted some real estate developer campaign contributions, while her constituents were being priced out of the neighborhood. Accepting real estate developer donations is no crime, but in today's climate these donations are used as a proxy for integrity / independence.

 

3. Daniel O'Donnell - NYS Assemblyman & Former Public Defender

BIO - Daniel O'Donnell Brief Bio. Daniel O'Donnell is currently the New Assemblyman for the Upper West Side. He was born to first generation Irish immigrants, in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. He graduated with a degree in Public Affairs from George Washington University and a Law Degree from CUNY Law.

CAREER - Daniel O'Donnell Career Summary. In the late 1980's, after graduating from CUNY Law Daniel O'Donnell went to work as a Public Defender for the Brooklyn Legal Aid Society, where he served for seven years. In 2002 O'Donnell became the first openly gay man to become an NYS Assemblyman, where he has served since. O'Donnell was instrumental in getting the Marriage Equality Act passed in 2011, and has championed other legislation regarding anti-bullying, domestic abuse prevention, sexual harassment protections and banning gun sales to convicted domestic abusers.

ENDORSEMENTS - Daniel O'Donnell Summary of Key Endorsements. Some of the notable O'Donnell endorsements include former Congressman Rangel, NYS Assemblywoman Elizabeth Krueger, former Queens Congressman & County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley, Manhattan Democratic Party Chairman Keith Wright & Rosie O'Donnell who is a public personality repeatedly bashed by Trump, who is Daniel O'Donnell's sister. And the Stonewall Democrats and the Victory Fund.

CONTROVERSIES - Daniel O'Donnell Summary of Key Controversies. There don't appear to be any controversies surrounding his campaign funding source nor flip-flops in his legislative agenda.

 

4. Rafael Espinal - NYC Councilmember & former NYS Assemblyman

Rafael Espinal Brief Bio. Rafael Espinal was born in the Cypress Hills neighborhood of Brooklyn to Dominican immigrant parents - both of whom were union members. Rafael graduated from Queens College.

Rafael Espinal Career Summary. After graduating from college, Espinal began his political career in 2007 when he began working for NYC Councilmember Dilan. In 2011 Espinal ran for the NYS Assembly and once in Albany he worked on healthcare, immigration and fiscal policy. He ran for NYC Council in 2013 and has since worked on a number of issues including Mayor de Blasio's significant push to build more affordable housing.

Rafael Espinal Summary of Key Endorsements. Espinal's endorsements include NYC Councilmember Stephen Levine, musician Marky Ramone, and rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum.

Rafael Espinal Summary of Key Controversies. There don't appear to be any controversies surrounding his campaign funding source nor flip-flops in his legislative agenda.

 

5. Michael Blake - NYS Assemblyman & Vice Chair of DNC

Michael Blake Brief Bio. Michael Blake was born the son of Jamaican immigrant parents working in manufacturing and in a union and he was raised in the Bronx. Michael Blake graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Journalism.

Michael Blake Career Summary. Following graduation, in 2007 Blake went to work on the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. He became an NYS Assemblyman for the Bronx in 2010 where he has served ever since. His focus in hte Assembly was to speed up payment to Minority & Women owned Business Enterprises [MWBE], as well as legislation for stricter gun control, protection of LGBTQ rights and the DREAM Act.

Michael Blake Key Endorsements. Michael Blake has the endorsement of a number of local labor unions, a number of local Democratic Clubs [he's the Vice Chair of the DNC which is the Democratic National Committee], former NYS Comptroller Carl McCall, fomer Lieutenant Governor Dick Ravitch, author Nathalie Molina Nino, Congressmen Jose Serrano, Gregory Meeks and Eliot Engel, a whole host of NYS Assemblymembers and NYC Councilmembers, and the leaders of a couple of tenants associations.

Michael Blake Key Controversies. It's not a controversy, but it's something worth knowing. Blake reportedly has the highest amount of out-of-state campaign donations.

 

6. Eric Ulrich - NYC Councilmember

Eric Ulrich Brief Bio. Eric Ulrich was born and raised in Ozone Park. He graduated from St. Francis College in 2007 and received an MPA from CUNY Baruch in 2016.

Eric Ulhrich Career Summary. In 2007 Ulrich became the Republican District Leader for the Ozone Park area. In 2009 he was elected to the NYC Council, and has served there ever since. He has been an advocate for Veterans Services, helping to pass legislation to create a new Department of Veterans Services.

Eric Ulhrich Key Endorsements. Eric Ulrich received the endorsement of multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch's NY Post [Murdoch also controls Fox News & Wall Street Journal], as did the Republican Party from all five boroughs, the NY Daily News and a number of NYS Republican luminaries including Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, Republican Congressman Dan Donovan and the Chairman of the Republican Party Ed Cox.

Eric Ulhrich Key Controversies. Ulrich is a Republican, and as such in the first NY1 debate Ulrich noted that while he disagreed with Republican President Donald Trump on some issues, he supported him on others.


7. Ron Kim - NYC Councilmember

Ron Kim Brief Bio. Was born in South Korean to parents who immigrated to the Flushing neighborhood in Queens when he was seven years old. He graduated from Hamilton College around the turn of the millenium, and graduated with a Masters in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch in 2004. For most of the next ten years Ron Kim worked for various government officials including NYC Councilmember John Liu, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Governor Spitzer and Patterson. For a couple of years he worked for the Parkside Group which is a political consulting . lobbying firm. In 2013 he became the NYS Assemblyman for the Flushing and surrounding communities.

Ron Kim Career Summary. Perhaps the biggest issue for which Kim is now known is that he fought the arrival of Amazon because of the tax giveaways and closed door negotiations.

Ron Kim Key Endorsements. Ron Kim has been endorsed by former NYC Comptroller and currently NYS Senator John Liue, NYS Assemblymembers Peter Abbate, Yuhline Nou & Dan Quart, NYC Councilmember Paul Vallone, a swath of Democratic District Leaders from Manhattan, the co-Founders of the Debt Collective [Kim is for debt reduction], and a few community group leaders including the President of the Korean American Association, Flushing Homeowners Association and some Queens Democratic Party leaders.

Ron Kim Key Controversies. Perhaps the biggest issue for which Kim is now known is that he fought the arrival of Amazon because of the tax giveaways and closed door negotiations. The controversy results from the loss of up to 25,000 new Amazon jobs, along with the loss of the attendant tax base and having one of the world's leading technology companies set up a headquarters here.

 

8. Nomiki Konst - Reporter for Young Turks

Nomiki Konst Brief Bio. Nomiki Konst grew up in California, the granddaughter of Greek immigrants who spent part of their lives in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens.

Nomiki Konst Career Summary. Nomiki Konst has been a Young Turks journalist for the past three years. Based on the information I found, it appears that she does not have any significant hands on experience in government, but has been a reporter covering government and politics.

Nomiki Konst Key Endorsements. Konst received the endorsement of California Congressman Ro Khanana, actress Rosario Dawson and NYC Councilmember Costa Constantinides.

Nomiki Konst Key Controversies. It's not a controversy, but it's something worth knowing. Konst reportedly has the second highest amount of out-of-state campaign donations.

Sources: Citizens Union Foundation, City & State NY, Wikipedia, NYT, Spectrum NY1. Note that Spectrum News NY1 organized and broadcast two debates and posted them at www.ny1.com.


Public Advocate Election - Tuesday 2/26 - Please Vote

February 26,2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

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The New York Public Advocate election is tomorrow - Tuesday, February 26th.

The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Tuesday.

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