Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate
New Yorkers preparing to cast their votes in the February 26th special election for Public Advocate are faced with something not all that common – a ballot that presents an embarrassment of riches in the quality of candidates, especially when it comes to the critical issues of making our streets safer and our public transportation better.
More than half of the candidates for Public Advocate took part in our endorsement process, including six of the seven candidates who have qualified for tonight’s second and final debate.
Rafael Espinal is a rising star in the City Council who has embraced the plight of delivery workers and the legalization of electric bicycles. Dawn Smalls pairs an impressive resumé with an activist attorney’s passion. Ydanis Rodriguez has compiled a sterling record in his five years chairing the Council’s Committee on Transportation. Benjamin Yee has proposed compelling ideas about how to use the office to spread democracy.
Michael Blake is an ascendant figure in Albany with a strong record on transportation issues. Nomiki Konst has built an impressive career as a firebrand investigative journalist with a fierce independent streak. And Jumaane Williams has combined the roles of activist and elected official to pass more legislation (and get arrested more often for demonstrating) than any other member of the City Council.
Amidst all these compelling hopefuls, however, we believe one candidate stands tallest, and that’s why we are endorsing Melissa Mark-Viverito for New York City Public Advocate in the special election on Tuesday, February 26th.
Ms. Mark-Viverito served as Speaker of the City Council from 2014 to 2017, and under her leadership, the Council transformed from a body that often resisted safe-streets initiatives to one that instead pushed City Hall and the Department of Transportation to do more.
Prior to being elected Speaker, Ms. Mark-Viverito invested considerable political capital in supporting the creation of protected bike lanes and complete-streets treatments on First and Second Avenues, in the face of often vocal opposition.
And her support for passing congestion pricing to help solve the twin crises of insufficient transit funding and crippling gridlock dates back more than a decade. So it’s no surprise that she chose “Fix the MTA” as her party designation for this special election.
We believe Ms. Mark-Viverito’s experience in managing the Speaker’s office will help her transition quickly and seamlessly into the role of Public Advocate, and we’re confident that she has the gravitas to serve as a counterweight to the Mayor, when necessary.
As Public Advocate, she’s committed to working with the City Council to address placard abuse, holding City Hall accountable for the expeditious rollout of the Fair Fares program, and ensuring that the planned expansion of the Citi Bike system happens equitably as well as speedily.
Ms. Mark-Viverito was among the very first group of candidates we endorsed after StreetsPAC’s launch in 2013, and we are proud to support her again in the race for Public Advocate. We believe her combination of a strong record on street-safety and transit issues, and her experience leading the City Council, make her the best candidate for the job.
We urge you to vote for Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate on Tuesday, February 26th.