Saturday, February 13, 2016

Public advocate candidates eye Bronx

By Sarina Trangle

The two candidates vying to represent the Democratic Party in the public advocate election hail from Brooklyn, but they have both cast their vision on the Bronx. 

Letitia James referenced the borough’s ongoing fight for living wage jobs when speaking with The Press

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, a Riverdale native now living in Carroll Gardens, touted his neighborhood knowledge, praising his favorite eateries and community organizations, while saying he knows the community has struggled to maintain services for seniors because his aunt in the area relies on Access-A-Ride.

Local political groups have staked out a horse in the race, too, with the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club and many local politicians endorsing Mr. Squadron and the Northwest Bronx Democrats backing Ms. James. 

Ms. James, 54, of Clinton Hill, and Mr. Squadron, 33, will face off in a Tuesday, Oct. 1 run-off. The victor will not face a Republican challenger in the general election. However, several candidates representing smaller parties will run.

Administering the run-off will cost $13 million, which has sparked conversations about altering the election system because the figure is several times the public advocate’s annual budget. 

Ms. James touted her experience as a public defender, assistant attorney general, lawyer for the state legislature and councilwoman, during which she said she opposed permitting Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for a third term and restored cuts to subsidized child care and senior centers.

“With that as my record and as my background, I think that uniquely qualifies me as the next public advocate because some have argued I’ve been the public advocate,” Ms. James said.

Mr. Squadron, who worked as a top aide to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer before being elected to office, highlighted his work advocating for expanded public transportation services and needy New Yorkers.

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