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It’s special election Tuesday, New York, and we’re urging everyone to roll to the polls and place their vote for Public Advocate.
Letitia James vacated the position after being elected New York State Attorney General during 2018’s midterm elections. Polling places are set up across the five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island – for the public to cast their ballot for the man or woman they feel best fits the bill.
The New York City Public Advocate is the second highest-ranking elected official in the city and the first in line to succeed the mayor if ever warranted. The Public Advocate watches over the city and provides insight for city agencies and investigates citizen complaints about city services. He or she also generates proposals to address shortcomings and failures of city agencies, to ensure that New Yorkers have access to high-quality services.
New York City’s next Public Advocate is in your hands. All you have to do is vote!
Find out if you’re registered to vote and where your polling site is located here.
Below are eight key candidates you should know.
• Jumaane Williams: The Brooklyn councilman who lost the lieutenant governor’s race in November, was endorsed by The Times.
He wants to put New York City Housing Authority on the public advocate’s “worst landlords list,” and had opposed Mr. de Blasio’s housing plan, arguing it didn’t do enough to create units for low-income New Yorkers.
• Michael Blake: An assemblyman from the Bronx who is also the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wanted the Amazon deal reworked, not scrapped.
He worked for the Obama administration, and also earned money as a consultant while in public office. He wants to implement a “flip tax” on homes bought and sold within a year.
• Daniel O’Donnell: An assemblyman from Manhattan, was an original sponsor of the Marriage Equality Act. He wants to “downzone” neighborhoods and see more transparency from the New York City Housing Authority.
• Melissa Mark-Viverito: The former City Council speaker, has focused on criminal justice reform and wants to use revenue from legalized marijuana to fund mass transit. She has highlighted racial and gender disparity in elected offices.
• Nomiki Konst: Was a delegate for Bernie Sanders in 2016, and she wants a $30 minimum wage. Her background as a self-described “award-winning investigative journalist” and “activist” has raised eyebrows.
• Eric Ulrich: A councilman from Queens, backed the deal for an Amazon headquarters in Queens, and that may help him solidify votes from residents who are upset about the plan’s collapse. He said he’ll be Mr. de Blasio’s “worst nightmare.”
• Ron Kim: An assemblyman from Queens, was an Amazon opponent who wants to eliminate “taxpayer giveaways” to big companies and cancel student debt. He once tackled a mugger, and has mentioned it in campaign mailings.
• Rafael Espinal: A councilman from Brooklyn, is seeking to legalize electric bikes and scooters, and require that new cars sold in the city after 2030 are electric. He wants to require schools to have a greenhouse or urban-farming classroom.