Which Brooklynites are Running for Public Advocate?

Natasha Ishak

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Neighborhoods are abuzz as election day for New Yorkers to vote on their choice for Public Advocate grows closer. The race for Public Advocate has caught a lot of attention because of its unique standing and this year’s crowded playing field. It’s a highly-desired position and has been deemed a launching pad into higher politics by many. Former elected officials to hold the title of Public Advocate include Letitia James, now Attorney General of New York, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

There are six Brooklynites out of 23 candidates gunning for the seat. We’re all for civic education here at Bushwick Daily, so we’ve compiled an easy list to learn more about Brooklyn-based or Brooklyn-grown candidates who are in the race.

Rafael Espinal

Position: Brooklyn councilman serving Bushwick, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, and East New York

Party: Livable City.

Platforms: Making the city more livable through real affordable housing, better working conditions, and a greener environment.

Latest headline: The councilman’s proposed “Right to Disconnect” bill, a France-inspired legislation that would make it unlawful for employers to require workers to respond to work-related electronic communications during non-work hours, made headlines this week.

Tony Herbert

Position: Community activist and media personality from Brooklyn, serves as the president, CEO and chairman of the Multi-Cultural Restaurant and NightLife Chamber of Commerce, and founder of the Advocates Without Borders Network.

Party: Housing Residents First.

Platforms: Giving a voice to the voiceless on issues like New York City housing.

Latest headline: Herbert made his case about supporting candidates without prior elected office positions, like himself, on an interview with Just Endorsed.

Jared Rich

Position: Attorney born and raised in Brooklyn.

Party: Jared Rich for NYC.

Platforms: Pursuing the legal drug distribution machine in communities and corruption, that has led to a deteriorated subway, and reforming education policy.

Latest headline: Rich made appearances at a number of candidate forums, including one hosted by the New School and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and another held at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights.

Latrice Walker

Position: Brooklyn assemblywoman, chair for the Subcommittee on Renewable Energy.

Party: People for Walker

Platforms: Fixing NYCHA housing and strengthening Public Advocate’s role as watchdog through granting of investigatory and subpoena powers to its office.

Latest headline: During the state’s vote to strengthen New York’s reproductive laws, the assemblywoman candidly shared her own experience with abortion.  

Jumaane Williams

Position: Brooklyn councilman serving Flatbush, East Flatbush, and the Flatlands.

Party: The People’s Voice.

Platforms: Advocating for the voices of marginalized communities on issues like housing, criminal justice reform, and immigration.

Latest headline: Touted as a progressive candidate on polarizing issues, the councilman was reported to have misled LGBTQ groups about donating to anti-gay candidates in the past.

Benjamin Yee

Position: Brooklyn raised entrepreneur and activist, serves as Secretary of the Manhattan Democratic Party and State Committeeman of Assembly District 66.

Party: Community Empowerment.

Platforms: Empowering communities through civic education, providing official city support, and holding those in positions of office accountable.

Latest headline: In an appearance on The Wave podcast, the state’s committeeman touted his experience “building models of democracy” (likely referring to his past tech infrastructure-building work in the Democratic State Senate) and criticized career politicians.

New Yorkers are expected to vote for their pick for New York Public Advocate in the special election on Feb. 26. Learn how to register to vote here.

Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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