Jumaane Williams, Public Advocate?

Following a narrow loss to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul for her seat, City Council member Jumaane Williams spoke, in his first media interview since the result, to Amsterdam News‘ Nayaba Arinde. She cut to the chase: “Are you going to run” for public advocate? Letitia James, the current public advocate for the city, won the Democratic primary for state attorney general. If she wins the general election, a special election for the position would likely be held in the spring.

He replied, “That option was not in my mind. I had prepared to either win the election or lose the election. I didn’t prepare to win/lose, which is apparently what happened that night. I didn’t prepare for the numbers to look so great that this option would even be there.”

As for the primary election, Williams, who represents the 45th District in Brooklyn and is of Grenadian descent, lauded the “amazing, kind of awe-inspiring” results.

Reflecting on his own record, Williams said, “My career goal was to cause as much good trouble as possible, and make transformational change. I think in the past decade we’ve got some good things done. I am proud of that. We’ve had some leading voices in some critical times.”

Although some question Williams’ record, saying he has “flip-flopped” on some major issues, successes he claims include tackling police brutality and supporting the Cure Violence initiatives.

“I am most proud of what we have done with gun violence and the whole discussion that is changing the framework of what public safety is, and getting the funding to some of the community groups on the ground and looking at it as a whole public health approach, and cure violence as the model,” he said. “Of course what we did with policing is good for me as well, and my voice in the affordable housing crisis. And also the summer youth program.”

Does Williams believe that the relations between the police and communities have improved? Read his response at Amsterdam News along with his comments on being a part of the new wave of progressive candidates. And find out what Williams said when he was asked a second time whether he will run for public advocate or not.

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