Two fresh faces have been added to the ranks of the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus in Brooklyn Councilmembers Alicka Ampry-Samuel and Justin Brannan, both recently sworn in for their first terms on the council.
Progressives make up nearly half of the City Council, with 21 of the 51 Councilmembers in the 2018-2021 counted among their ranks. A third of that number is made up of Brooklyn Democrats, including Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus.
“As we go to work on the behalf of all New Yorkers, welcoming progressive leaders like Council Members [Ampry-Samuel and Brannan] into the Progressive Caucus makes us even stronger. I look forward to working with our new members to continue to fight for a more just and fair New York City,” said Councilmember Reynoso.
Brooklyn Councilmembers Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Carlos Menchaca and Jumaane Williams are also members of the Progressive Council.
Passing nearly 50 bills in the last Council session, the Progressives have been behind some major pieces of legislation, from the Right to Know Act’s Consent to Search portion, to Freelance Isn’t Free, which protects and ensures payment for freelance workers.
The Progressive Caucus also put forth a platform of 18 Progressive Policies for 2018, entitled “Resistance & Progress.” The policies range from immigrants’ rights to universal childcare, and from closing Rikers Island to affordable housing.
“From protecting immigrants to making it easier for working families to put food on the table, the goal will always be making New York City work for everybody. I look forward to working with the Progressive Caucus to make real differences in the lives of New Yorkers,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan.
Brannan succeeded term-limited Democrat Vincent Gentile in the 43rd District, just narrowly beating out his Republican challenger, John Quaglione. Ampry-Samuel won easily in District 41, assuming the seat of outgoing Democrat Darlene Mealy.
In addition to joining up with the Progressives, both Councilmembers were also among those named to committee chair positions for the coming term. Councilmember Ampry-Samuels will chair the Public Housing committee, while Councilmember Brannan will chair the Contracts committee.
The New York City Council is already extremely liberal, but Council’s progressives are well aware of their role, not only within the city, but also on a national stage. “The key word in Progressive is Progress,” said Councilmember Ampry-Samuel, “and it is my job, along with my colleagues of the caucus to ensure that our great city is moving in the progressive direction that can be the standard for many cities to follow across the country.”