In Public Advocate Bid, Mark-Viverito Cites Representation Concerns

Melissa Mark-Viverito in 2017 (Photo by Karen Pennar for Voices of NY)

Weeks after Public Advocate Letitia James won the race for state attorney general, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito officially announced she is running for the post, in a special election to be held next year.

(…) Other politicians who have officially announced their candidacy are Council members Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, and state Assembly members Michael Blake and Danny O’Donnell. [Editor’s note: Assembly member Latrice Walker also announced she is running.] Rumored to run are professor and former public advocate candidate David Eisenbach and Council members Ydanis Rodríguez and Eric Ulrich.

“As Tish James vacates the public advocate’s office, we will have three white men occupying all citywide positions of leadership,” said Mark-Viverito (…).

Council member Espinal, the only other Hispanic candidate so far for public advocate, (…) said:

“Viverito is qualified, but she already had an opportunity as council speaker to make a change. Now we’re in a situation that is the result of past leaderships.”

Assembly member-elect Catalina Cruz supported Viverito’s bid, describing her as the “warrior” that is needed for this position.

“Melissa has demonstrated a trajectory dedicated to defending the people, and she is capable of confronting anyone when people are in need. She stood for the undocumented community when many turned their backs on us, and she was a leader in reforming the criminal system,” said the Colombian-born politician. (…)

Political analyst Carlos Vargas (…) said that Melissa Mark-Viverito might use the post with a possible run for mayor in mind: “This could happen. We have seen that for people like Marc Green or de Blasio himself, the public advocate’s office has been a springboard for their City Hall aspirations, but it will depend on her and, if she wins, her management [of the office].”

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