The PSC has endorsed Jumaane Williams for reelection as public advocate. Williams has been in the position since 2019, when he won a special election to replace Letitia James, who had been named State Attorney General. He is now running for a full term.
Williams has been an outspoken advocate for CUNY since his days as an undergraduate at Brooklyn College, where he was a well-known student leader. He was an important voice in support of CUNY and the PSC as a progressive city councilmember serving on the council’s Higher Education Committee, union leaders said.
SUPPORT FOR CUNY
As public advocate, Williams has made CUNY funding a signature issue. He issued a major report on the history of underfunding of CUNY and called for significant new state and city investment.
His advocacy against police violence has further solidified his relationship with the PSC. The union was an early critic of the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk, and several CUNY faculty and students were key participants and researchers in litigation that resulted in a federal court ruling that the practice, according to the Center of Constitutional Rights, violated “New Yorkers’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and . . . [was] racially discriminatory in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
In her statement to the PSC’s Delegate Assembly supporting Williams, PSC President Barbara Bowen emphasized his record on CUNY and racist violence and added that Williams had achieved an impressive 47% share of the vote in the 2018 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, running in conducted a courageous run with challenging gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. “That Jumaane won such a large percentage of the Democratic vote statewide shows his ability to bring New Yorkers together in support of a progressive agenda,” said Nixon. Union delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse him.
The Democratic primary election for public advocate is June 22. The union expects to consider endorsements for the two other major citywide offices, mayor and comptroller, in the coming months.
Luke Elliott-Negri, a PSC Executive Council member and the union’s legislative representative, said, “Jumaane is someone who has independence to do things that many will not.”
Williams said in a statement, “As a two-time graduate of the CUNY system, I know how beneficial this university can be, but the COVID-19 pandemic and longstanding lack of investment from the city and state have caused significant challenges that require bold solutions from our elected leaders. I’ve been proud to be a partner on this effort with the PSC, and am honored to receive their endorsement as we continue to fight to preserve CUNY’s standing as a top university that provides world class education.”