Election 2019: Williams faces off against two challengers in public advocate race

Jumaane Williams is facing off against former City Council colleague Republican Joe Borelli and Libertarian candidate Devin Balkind in the race for Public Advocate.

In the only citywide election, three men are in the running for public advocate office currently held by Jumaane Williams.

Williams will face his former City Council colleague Republican Joe Borelli and Libertarian candidate Devin Balkind.

Williams took the office in a special election after Letitia James was elected as state attorney general. His term ends Jan. 1.

“Our city needs a public advocate who can effectively be an activist elected official that rises above politics and brings the voice of everyday New Yorkers into the halls of government,” Williams said in a statement. “Throughout my career in public service, as a Council member, and before that as a community organizer, I’ve served as an advocate for the public by fighting for justice and equity for all. I’ve been proud to pass more than 50 bills by blending outside pressure with inside operations to create meaningful change in our city. As NYC’s current public advocate, I will continue to combine activism and legislation to help make our city a truly progressive beacon.”

Williams’ top issues include the affordable housing crisis, increasing government transparency and accountability, criminal justice reform and gun violence prevention. He was endorsed by Citizens Union, the preeminent nonpartisan good government group, last week.

Borelli is chair of the Committee on Fire and Emergency Management, with oversight over the FDNY, the largest fire department in the U.S., and the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

The Staten Islander gained some traction in the race when he picked up endorsements from all of the major law enforcement unions in the city, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

“The New York City Police Department represents the best of what our city has to offer, and I have never wavered in my support for the officers that serve our communities each day,” Borelli said. “Our cops will always have an ally with me in office.”

Balkind is a technologist and nonprofit executive who is seeking a citywide directory of social services, digital transformation of city agencies and tech-enabled MTA and NYCHA reform.

“I’m a lifelong New Yorker who’s spent the last decade using technology to help government, nonprofits and startups save money and improve people’s lives,” Balkind said. “As public advocate, I’ll turn the office into a non-partisan, public-interest technology organization that builds software and offers services that make government faster, better and cheaper.”

He promised to deliver solutions that would strengthen the social safety net, improve the civic engagement process and produce websites that help New Yorkers better understand how their government works and spends money.

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