Manhattan Borough President - Democratic Primary

 
       
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Preferred Candidate - Gale Brewer - Dem
Age: 62 Occupation: City Councilmember, District 6
Education: Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (MPA)

Gale Brewer is a three-term Councilmember from Manhattan’s 6th Council District, and one of four very qualified candidates in this race. During her time in office, Brewer has championed a number of causes, including legislation that was recently enacted into law mandating paid sick leave for over 1 million New Yorkers. Brewer has made a career in government, previously working as chief of staff under former Councilmember Ruth Messinger, Deputy Public Advocate for Intergovernmental Affairs, and Director of the Mayor’s Federal Office under former Mayor David Dinkins. Brewer has also been a teacher of Urban Planning at Barnard College and a number of CUNY schools. She has a strong record on government reform and transparency, having worked with Citizens Union to introduce and enact into law the city’s landmark Open Data Law, which requires all public data housed by city agencies to be posted online in user friendly formats. As the chair of the City Council’s Committees on Technology and Governmental Operations, Brewer used her position to conduct important oversight of the City Board of Elections and hold hearings on transparency and needed election reforms. Brewer has also been the prime sponsor of legislation to implement instant runoff voting for citywide offices and special elections. Brewer demonstrated a clear and pragmatic understanding of the role of the Office of Manhattan Borough President and how to leverage that position to effect meaningful change in the areas of land use and community board reform. In order to address citywide issues, Brewer has pledged to work collaboratively with other borough presidents. Citizens Union believes that Brewer’s years of effective results producing experience with city government would provide her important insight into how best to use the office to conduct oversight of city agencies through the borough board and borough services cabinet.  Brewer has a proven track record on reform and a lifetime dedication to service that benefits the public interest. Citizens Union prefers Gale Brewer. 


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Robert Jackson – Dem
Age: 62 Occupation: City Councilmember, 7th District
Education: SUNY, New Paltz (BA)

Robert Jackson, one of four very qualified candidates in this race, has served as representative for City Council District 7 for the past twelve years. In that capacity, Jackson has chaired the Education Committee and co-chaired the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. Previously, Jackson was instrumental as the lead plaintiff in a landmark lawsuit that brought needed additional funding to New York City’s public schools, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. He has made creating jobs, additional educational opportunities and affordable housing the center of his campaign. He intends to use the Manhattan Borough President’s advisory capacity through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure to advocate for more equitable development. Jackson is a longtime, effective advocate for his community. Further, Jackson is a supporter of Citizens Union’s issues and has previously co-sponsored legislation we favor in the area of election reform. Citizens Union believes that Jackson would effectively continue his long career of community advocacy if elected Manhattan Borough President and would be an effective office holder. 


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Jessica Lappin - Dem
Age: 38 Occupation: City Councilmember, 5th District
Education: Georgetown (degree not reported)

Jessica Lappin is a two-term Councilmember, representing City Council District 5. During her tenure, Lappin successfully brought five new schools to her district to help alleviate school overcrowding and wrote a landmark law regulating crisis pregnancy centers. Further, in her capacity as chair of the City Council Aging Committee, Lappin has fought to protect social programs such as Meals on Wheels and senior centers. She expressed support for all of Citizens Union’s reform positions and demonstrated a clear plan for empowering and reforming community boards. Further, Lappin had a clear vision for how to ensure that communities are empowered through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, believing that 197-a plans should be more effectively used throughout the entire borough. Regarding reforming the land use review process in the City Charter, Lappin did not have specific ideas, but supports the forming of a Charter Revision Commission to achieve this goal. Citizens Union believes that Jessica Lappin is a dedicated and effective public servant who is very creative and holds many ideas. Citizens Union is impressed by her depth of knowledge on a variety of policy issues given her relatively shorter tenure in office, but believes that another candidate brings a longer track record and more experience.
 


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Julie Menin – Dem
Age: 45 Occupation: Former Chair, Community Board 1
Education: Political Science, Columbia University (BA), Northwestern University School of Law (JD)

Julie Menin, one of four very qualified candidates in this race, entered into public service in the wake of the September 11 attacks, which destroyed her business and forced her family’s evacuation from their downtown apartment. Menin founded Wall Street Rising, a leading community group dedicated to representing residents and local businesses before insurance companies. She later joined Manhattan Community Board 1, serving as its chair for seven years. Currently, she sits on the boards of the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the Municipal Art Society. Menin envisions using the office of Manhattan Borough President to implement a master plan which would serve as a roadmap for sustainable and equitable development for the entire borough through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. A strong supporter of Citizens Union’s reform agenda, who once sat on Citizens Union’s board, Menin promises to use participatory budgeting to distribute capital funds and implement greater transparency of the office of Borough President as well as community boards’ operations. Citizens Union believes that Menin presents an important and compelling vision for the office of Manhattan Borough President, and is impressed with her long-term thinking and past record of standing up for issues that she believes in, whether or not they have been politically popular or advantageous. We believe that the borough would be well served should she be elected, but believe that the successful track record of CU’s preferred candidate outpaces her energy and appealing vision.