It was a packed house of community activist, leaders and the full court of elected officials from the Southeast Queens area. They gathered early Tuesday morning in support of public advocate candidate Letitia “Tish” James. The candidate who led the votes in the Primary Election, is now in a runoff with candidate Senator Daniel Squadron who received the second most amount of votes.
The runoff election will take place on October 1. With only 20% of registered voters reportedly turning out for the Primary Election on September 10th, a low voter turnout is expected for the runoff. As such, each camp is working to get the vote out.
“Go to your constituency to make sure they go out to vote,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.
“It is important that we come out for ‘Tish’,” said Councilman Leroy Comrie. “We’re not going to see Squadron over here.”
Other elected officials that took to the podium in support of the candidate included Assemblywoman Vivann Cook, Councilman Donovan Richards and Councilman Ruben Wills who hosted the event. Presumptive Councilman I. Daneek Miller also made supportive remarks. Elected officials spoke of her long resume and history with the area as reasons to support the candidate.
Candidate Letitia James took to the podium for a short speech which jumped right into the issues of the area. “Whenever it rains, it floods in Southeast Queens,” she said.
She then spoke about the importance of the office with its close proximity to the office of Mayor and her hope to “make the office relevant to your lives”.
James spoke about items she wanted to address in her administration including the budget and the current climate of apathy that she hoped to combat. “The Bloomberg era is behind us,” she said.
The candidate then took a few questions from the audience of civic, clergy and community leaders. Questions ran the gamut including how she would address health, education, and employment issues. She spoke about addressing high cancer and stress rates in the area, that contracts for women and minority business certification lead to jobs and Mayoral control in education. Audience members received the candidate well and were supportive.
Candidate James would be the first woman of color to hold a citywide office is she is elected. She is hoping her accomplishments speak to her qualifications for the office.
"I know that's important to have some that represents and looks like all of New York City," she said. "[And I have] a record of accomplishments".
The candidate was recently endorsed by the Queens County Democrats and her former Democratic party challengers in the public advocate race, Reshma Saujaniher and Sidique Wai.
The runoff will take place on Tuesday, October 1.