Councilmember Jumaane Williams announced on Tuesday his intention to run for New York City public advocate to replace the incumbent Letitia James, who is favored to win next month’s election for New York attorney general.
After an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in last month’s primaries, the councilmember has filed papers to open a campaign committee to support a potential public advocate bid. If and when the position is vacated by James, Mayor Bill de Blasio will set a special election, and Williams will then formally launch his campaign, he stated.
The public advocate serves as an ombudsman who provides oversight for city agencies, investigates citizens’ complaints about city services and makes proposals to address any of their shortcomings; it is also the first in line to succeed the mayor.
Williams is a progressive Democrat and three-term city councilmember who represents the 45th District, including Flatbush and East Flatbush. Since taking office in 2009, he has focused on anti-gun violence, affordable housing and community policing.
In an effort to combat gun violence, Williams has sponsored the Community Safety Act, which created the Office of Inspector General for the New York Police Department, and the Fair Chance Act. He also co-chairs the city council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence which spurred the New York’s Crisis Management System and Cure Violence Groups to mediate and mitigate violent conflicts within communities.
“New York City needs to live up to its promise as a progressive beacon, and the government needs not just to legislate but to listen,” Williams said. “Too many working-class New Yorkers are struggling, and this city belongs to them — not just to the rich or the real estate lobby. As public advocate, I will fight to make this city affordable, equitable and just for the many, not the few.”