NEW YORK, CMC –Caribbean American New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams emerged victorious Tuesday in the special race for Public Advocate in New York City.
Preliminary figures released by the New York City’s Board of Elections, show that that Democrat Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, had secured 33 per cent of the 396,000 ballots counted so far.
Eric A. Ulrich, the lone Republican candidate and New York City Councilman from Queens, placed second, with 19 per cent of the ballots cast.
Former New York City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, placed third, with 11 per cent.
“This campaign may have been relatively short, but this journey has been long,” Williams, 42, told enthusiastic supporters at his victory party on Tuesday night.
“It traces back across years of working with all of you on the front lines of the issues that matter to all of us – fighting for transformational change in the streets and in the halls of government. As your Public Advocate, I promise that we will take up these causes and more, with energy, passion, and resolve – to do what’s right, no matter the political winds,” said Williams, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn,
“I know I’ll have all of you by my side in these fights. To my fellow candidates, thank you for a race about ideas, about how to make life better for New Yorkers. “I look forward to working with you all, inside and outside of government to advance an agenda for all New Yorkers.”
Williams told New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio that he will not be running for his job, but added: “I’m going to make sure you do it on behalf of the people.”
Williams said he was “incredibly excited to fill” the role of Public Advocate, or, as he termed it, “People’s Advocate.
“I know that there are some who have sought to get rid of it. I’m sure there are powerful people who want it gone even more. But we aren’t going anywhere,” he said, adding “instead, we’re going to hold the powerful accountable. The mayor, the police commissioner, the governor, the big money interests – we are watching, and we will speak out.”
The Democratic Mayor de Blasio, however, congratulated Williams in his triumph.
“I join all New Yorkers in congratulating Jumaane Williams for being elected New York City’s Public Advocate,” he said in a statement, adding “I look forward to working with Public Advocate Williams to continue making this the fairest big city in America.”
The public advocate position serves as an ombudsman to the City of New York. It is second in line to succeed a mayor exiting before the end of his term. A total of 17 candidates contested the election.
Political observers regard the position as a potential launching pad to higher office.