Meet the gubernatorial candidates: NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate, isn’t mincing words when he speaks about Gov. Kathy Hochul – calling her a “liability” to Democrats' future control of government in New York.
Hochul was challenged by Williams in 2018 for the position of lieutenant governor and lost by just over 100,000 votes.
The two, along with Rep. Tom Suozzi, will face off to be the Democratic nominee for state's top job.
"The governor's job and position gives you so many tools just to do things that I've been advocating for on behalf of New Yorkers," he told News 12’s Kurt Semder.
Williams is the only Black person on either party's primary ballot – a responsibility he takes seriously, especially when discussing matters like public safety.
"It does keep me up because…we are beginning to arrest the children of the people we arrested in the '90s. That's a horrible direction to go in," he said.
Williams points to his work in the City Council that he says helped the five boroughs hit a record-low crime rate in 2018.
“If you're a victim of crime, data means nothing to you…so we have to be able to spread the message that we're going to keep you safe and help you feel safe and we need a leader that can actually do both and I'm proud to have a history of getting that done," he said.
The city's public advocate added that housing will be another priority of his, if elected.
“From Brooklyn, the Bronx, to Buffalo – everybody is worried about housing. Where are they going to live? Can they afford to stay in their apartment, are they going to get foreclosed on?"
Williams believes he is the change necessary to address these and other issues facing New Yorkers.
“People are struggling. They're not getting what they need from Albany. Albany just keeps trying to do the same thing. We keep saying, ‘We don't want to return to normal, we want to normalize people's lives,’ but normal is what got us here," he said.