Brooklyn City Councilmember Jumaane Williams to Be NYC’s Public Advocate

Brooklyn City Councilmember Jumaane Williams is New York City’s next public advocate after winning a special election with a solid plurality of the vote. The special election was called by Mayor Bill de Blasio in January to replace Letitia James, who vacated the role when she became the state’s attorney general earlier this year. Williams had served on the council since 2010, representing Brooklyn’s 45th district.

The city describes the public advocate position as “an ombudsperson for all New Yorkers.” Mayor de Blasio himself was a former public advocate. “As a former Public Advocate, I know firsthand how important this office is to our city,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The Public Advocate holds our entire City government accountable and amplifies the voices of all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with Public Advocate Williams to continue making this the fairest big city in America.”

Among the issues that Williams has stated he will make a priority is a broad platform of “housing justice.” His platform includes pushing to reform the city’s rent stabilization laws, enacting a moratorium on neighborhood rezonings as a way to “end displacement,” and holding the New York City Housing Authority accountable for the myriad issues its residents have had to contend with in recent years. He also said he’d keep NYCHA on the public advocate’s “worst landlords” list, which the agency landed on for the first time in 2018.