With the Sept. 9 primary less than two months away, Democratic candidates running to replace Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (who is retiring after 36 years) are touting a variety of endorsements as they continue to criss-cross the 42nd Assembly District in an attempt to persuade voters to cast ballots for them.
Mark Lieberman, a journalist and civic activist from Midwood Park, recently announced he was endorsed by former Lt. Gov. and MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch, while Democratic District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte, who challenged Jacobs in 2012, landed the backing of a bevy of unions, including SEIU 1199, the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York, and the Teamsters Joint Council 16.
“Mark Lieberman has demonstrated an extraordinary savviness and expertise at exposing and solving issues in government affecting New York,” Ravitch said in a press release sent out by Lieberman’s campaign. “His training first as a news reporter and later as a civic activist gives him an edge on any candidate to best serve as an effective advocate for the residents of Flatbush, Ditmas Park and Midwood in the New York State Assembly. He has my endorsement and full support in the race for the 42nd District seat.”
Lieberman said he was honored by Ravitch’s backing.
“We are so privileged in New York to have public servants like Dick Ravitch, who spend their lives fighting for the public good and defending democracy. It is an honor to have his support,” Lieberman said. “As he said in his memoir ‘So Much To Do,’ ‘…making the political process work better tomorrow than it does today depends on the willingness of good men and women to give a part of their lives to participating in it.’ I intend to do just that.”
Bichotte too recently announced a number of high-profile endorsements, including from 1199SEIU, the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York, Teamsters Joint Council 16, Tenants Political Action Committee, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Mason Tenders District of Greater New York & Long Island.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have won the backing of a group that works each and every day towards the goals of protecting and improving the lives of patients, caregivers and all working New Yorkers,” Bichotte stated in a press release of the 1199SEIU backing. “That passion will be with me in Albany as I lead the charge to break down barriers towards economic security and opportunity for all.”
1199SEIU Political Director Kevin Finnegan said his group is looking “forward to working closely with Ms. Bichotte in Albany to further a progressive healthcare agenda.”
The leaders of the other various organizations lauded Bichotte in a press release sent out by her campaign, with a number of them citing her support for increased pay for workers and affordable housing.
“We are certain that once elected as assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte will be a staunch champion for fair wages and safe working conditions for all of our members,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building Trades Council of Greater New York, which represents about 100,000 workers throughout the five boroughs.
Michelle McKee, treasurer of the Tenants Political Action Committee, said her group is “impressed with (Bichotte’s) grasp of the issues facing her district and the rest of the city, including the accelerating loss of rent-regulated and other affordable housing through loopholes in state laws.”
“With the state rent protection laws expiring next year in Albany, we look forward to working with Rodneyse to close these loopholes and preserve our affordable housing stock,” McKee continued.
The candidate was also feted for her support of Local 1181 – the largest local of the Amalgamated Transit Union in the U.S. that represents drivers and mechanics in the city – during the group’s strike in 2013.
“Rodneyse was instrumental in helping organize and mobilize ATU 1181 members in their strike for workers’ rights and higher pay, many of whom are of Haitian descent and make up a large part of the ATU 1181 membership,” said Michael Cordiello, president of ATU Local 1181-1061.
Bichotte said that “to have the support of unions and advocacy groups who fight each and every day for better work conditions for their members and all New Yorkers is a high honor for me.”
“As your assemblywoman, you can count on me to be a champion for tenants’ rights, the preservation of affordable housing, and workers of New York City,” she continued.
Alongside Lieberman and Bichotte, challengers making a bid for Jacobs’ 42nd Assembly District include community activist Michele Adolphe, who ran against Jacobs in 2010; Community Board 17 member Victor A. Jordan; and Rickie Tulloch, the deputy chief financial officer of Harlem Hospital Center and chairman of Jacobs’ Community Advisory Council.
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