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Race Overview: Public Advocate

Candidate Profile: Letitia James (D, Working Families)

Letitia James (D, Working Families)

Political Party: Democrat
Office Seeking: Public Advocate
Opponents: Daniel Squadron (D)  
Currently: City Council Member for District 35, Co-chair of the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, Chair of the City Council’s Sanitation Committee
Previously: Counsel and Chief of Staff to NYS Assembly members, Public Defender at the Legal Aid Society, First Assistant Attorney General at the Brooklyn Regional Office of the NYS Attoney General; Chair of the City Council’s Contracts Committee
Education: CUNY Lehman College (BA), Howard University (JD)
Endorsements: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Councilmembers Sara Gonzalez, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Melissa Mark Viverito, Fernando Cabrera, Rosie Mendez, Jumaane Williams, and Donovan Richards; Queens Assemblywoman Cathleen Nolan, Amsterdam News, El Diario, District Council (DC) 37, 1199 SEIU, Mason Tenders District Council, CWA 1182, APWU Local 10, District Council 9, UFCW Local 1500, SEIU 32BJ, CWA 1180, ATU 1056, RWDSU, UAW (United Auto Workers Region 9A), DC 1707, Local 802 (musicians), Local 831 (sanitation workers), Local 444 (Sanitation Officers Association), TWU Local 100, Working Families Party (WFP), Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan, Bay Ridge Democrats, New York Communities for Change, Broadway Democrats, Three Parks Democrats, Vanguard Independent Democrats, Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA), Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, Democracy for New York City, Kings County Democrats, Democratic Organization of Richmond County (DORC) (SI Dems), Frederick E. Samuelson Democratic Club, Muslim Democratic Club of New York, National Organization for Women NYC (NOW-NYC), Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA), Sanitation Officers Association (Local 444), Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA), Chelsea-Midtown Democratic Club, Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA), Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA) , Arturo Schomburg Democratic Club, Professional Staff Congress, NYC Central Labor Council, United for Progress Democratic Club, Elmer Blackburne Democratic Club, Clergy United for Community Empowerment, Tenants PAC, 504 Democratic Club, Rev. Dr. Edward Davis Presbyterian Church Of Saint Albans, Bishop Charles Norris Bethesda Baptist Church, Rev. Grey Macedonia Church Far Rockaway, Rev. Darren Ferguson Mt. Carmel Baptist Church Far Rockaway, Bronx Democratic Party, Brooklyn County Democratic Party, Civil Service Bar Association, Livery Base Owners Association, National Association of Social Workers, New York League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, Streets PAC, Carib News Newspaper, SSEU Local 371, S.I. Democrats, Sojourner Truth Democratic Club, Ansonia Independent Democratic Club, Concerned Democratic Coalition of Northern Manhattan, Nuevo Caribeno Democratic Club of East Harlem; Educational Justice PAC

Post-primary endorsements include: Emily’s List, NYC National Social Workers (PACE); Make the Road NY; Alliance of South Asian American Labor; the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA); the Uniformed EMT’s, Paramedics, and Fire Inspectors; the Correction Captains Association; former public advocate candidates Reshma Saujani and Sidique Wai; the Queens County Democratic Party; the City Council’s Black, Latino, Asian Caucus: Robert Jackson, Mathieu Eugene, Diana Reyna, Jumaane Williams, Donovan Richards, Peter Koo, Charles Barron, Maria del Carmen Arroyo,  Ruben Wills, Inez Dickens, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rosie Mendez, Debbie Rose, Leroy Comrie, Fernando Cabrera, and Andy King. Additionally, Council Members Inez Dickens, Mark Weprin, David Greenfield, and Elizabeth Crowley joined Caucus members in endorsing James.
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Born and raised in Brooklyn, Letitia James currently represents its’ 35th district as a member of the City Council since 2003. James is the Chair of the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Sanitation & Solid Waste Management, and she also holds a seat on the Committee on Contracts, as well as on the Committee on Small Business. She is a product of the NYC public school system and attended CUNY Lehman College prior to attending Howard University Law School. In May 2007, she was the main sponsor of the Safe Housing Act, which signed into law by the Mayor. The bill helps tenants in rental buildings receive prompt and complete repairs to their apartments. James has also been active in developmental issues in Brooklyn, such as opposing the planned “Atlantic Yards” project. As stated in her campaign website, “She supports an alternate plan for development that is more inclusive to the true needs of the community— affordable housing, better food access, and recreational access. Furthermore, she opposed the use of eminent domain to evict residents, as well as the “closed-door” bureaucracy that included selling the property below market value.” As a candidate for Public Advocate, James is mainly focused on social justice, environmental issues, housing advocacy, job development, and healthcare access.



Key Campaign Issues 

Affordable housing


  • As a City Council member, James passed the Safe Housing Act, which later became City law. It demanded that tenants receive full and prompt repairs to their apartments in rental buildings.
    • As a City Council member, she has opposed the planned “Atlantic Yards Project”
    • “The most pressing need in this city is not for a basketball arena.  It’s for affordable housing.”




  • About 6,500 children will be left without a slot come this November as a result of Early Learn. I believe this must stop; we need to stand up AND SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” 

  • “I will take a stand against school closings and insist that the City’s focus is on improving the quality of education our children receive, not on shutting down schools, teaching to the test, and scapegoating teachers. ”


Social and Environmental Justice


  • seeks to end the “one-size-fits-all” approach to policy making
  • seeks to advocate for fair wages and benefits for workers
  • plans to end “Stop-and-Frisk” by advocating against it


Fiscal Discipline and Oversight


  • “The number of people allegedly involved in Citytime corruption reached a whopping 11, and federal prosecutors seized more than $38 million in stolen funds from over 100 bank accounts hidden in international shell companies. The Citytime disaster directed attention to the need for contract oversight, and the same day my legislation was passed in law, SAIC announced it would return $500.4 million in restitution and penalties in relation to Citytime6 to the City of New York.”


Income Inequality


  • Seeks to pursue economic security for workers


2013 Campaign Fundraising and Spending Information (Courtesy of