Public Advocate Jumaane Williams took time out during his second official day in office to sit down with MNN's "Represent NYC". Gotham Gazette's Ben Max interviewed our new Public Advocate for a half-hour about everything from the thrill of victory to his vision for the public advocate's office.
Public Advocate is one of just three elected citywide positions and is meant to be a check on the mayor, the city council, and all of government that is supposed to serve New Yorkers. Tune in 7PM, this Sunday to “Represent NYC", and watch Jumaane Williams talk candidly about inequality in New York City's public schools, the homelessness epidemic, the affordable housing crisis, mental health and how he plans to deal with the deplorable conditions in NYCHA housing. That's this Sunday at 7PM, the show will also stream live and be available on our Youtube channel. MNN1 (Spectrum 34 & 1995, RCN 82, FiOS 33), or MNNHD (Spectrum 1993).
MORE ABOUT THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE
Here are a few about the man and the office that you might not know.
Deep Brooklyn Roots:
Brooklyn born Jumaane Williams also attended public schools in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College.
He was first elected to the City Council in 2009 in District 45, which represents Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood and Canarsie. He was re-elected in 2013 and 2017.
Williams ran for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary in 2018, losing to incumbent Kathy Hochul. But, It was a close race, Hochul had 53 percent of the vote to Williams’ 47 percent.
The public advocate’s office may come with a lot of responsibility but it has a surprisingly limited budget, only about $3.6 million. That's about .40cents for every New Yorker. They Mayor's office is looking to increase that by $2 million dollars.
Williams won the special election in February with 33.22 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting. He will hold the position at least until the end of this year, but will have to run again in a primary in June 2019 and a general election in November 2019 to complete the term left open by attorney general Letitia James.
Started in the 80's:
Williams is the 5th Public Advocate. The position of Public Advocate was created by the city’s 1989 Charter Revision Commission. Check out this video to learn more about what the public advocate does and why the position was created.
He could be Mayor:
The Public Advocate is first in line to the mayor if the city’s chief executive is unable to serve his or her full term. The office has also served as a “stepping stone” for politicians to be elected to higher posts. For example, one-time Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was elected mayor in 2013. Public Advocate Jumanne Williams' predecessor, Letitia James, was elected to the office of NY State Attorney General last year.
How to Reach the Public Advocate Office:
You may contact the Office of the Public Advocate by phone, email, mail, fax or visit in person:
Telephone Hotline: (212) 669-7250
Address: 1 Centre Street, 15 Floor North. New York, NY 10007
Walk-in Office Hours: Monday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Fax: (212) 669-4701