The Rev. Al Sharpton drew a large contingent of elected officials to his annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at National Action Network’s House of Justice. Headliners included U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke and Carolyn Maloney. NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Speaker and Acting Public Advocate Corey Johnson, NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and NYS Senate Temporary President and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also spoke.
Several of the public advocate candidates participated, including Assembly Members Latrice Walker, Michael Blake and Danny O’Donnell, Council Members Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Dawn Smalls. Walker, Blake, O’Donnell and Smalls were given speaking slots. Former mayor David Dinkins and former congressman Charles Rangel appeared, sitting onstage in the front row for the full program.
Assembly Member Keith Wright brought his campaign for the Congressional seat held by Charles Rangel to a close this afternoon, conceding defeat to Adriano Espaillat in a Harlem press conference. Joined by about 20 elected officials, including Rangel, and two of the other candidates in the race, Wright and Espaillat made a public display of unity standing in front of Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem as Wright acknowledged that Espaillat’s 1,200 vote lead in the preliminary vote totals would hold through counting of absentee and affidavit ballots and the final canvassing of poll site voting machines.
Rangel, who strongly supported longtime ally Wright in the race, anchored the joint appearance with kind words for both men. Other elected officials attending included Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Public Advocate Tish James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and state and city legislators from the Bronx and Manhattan.
13th Congressional District candidate Keith Wright condemned reported activity of a PAC supporting rival candidate Adriano Espaillat which has been characterized as voter suppression. Speaking as he accompanied Congressman Charles Rangel to vote today, Wright described those actions as having “brought up all of the ghosts of the civil rights movement … all of the ghosts of Jim Crowism … all of the ghosts of poll taxes” and declared that such tactics have “no place at all in any political activities here in this community.” Rangel expressed surprise that “they are … so stupid to actually put it in writing,” describing such actions as “shameful.”
“I couldn’t find my name. But I’m so glad I did find his name” said Congressman Charles Rangel after voting in his first congressional election in more than 45 years in which he was not a candidate. The “his” was Assembly Member Keith Wright, a longtime Rangel ally whom Rangel has endorsed as 13th Congressional District Democrats select a nominee to replace Rangel.
Rangel arrived at Harlem’s P.S. 175 to vote accompanied by his wife Alma and Wright. Appearing a few minutes ahead of schedule, Rangel spoke with the press both before and after voting, expressing support for Wright, but clearly not in a rush to leave office or the spotlight. Rangel loves the camera and it loves him right back, as shown in the two press Q&A’s Rangel did this morning, one as he arrived and a second after voting.
Many of the questions focused on Rangel’s emotions as a successor is selected and on his post-Congress plans, but he and Wright also addressed allegations that supporters of rival Adriano Espaillat have sought to suppress voting by African American voters in the District.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined New York City members of the House of Representatives in urging newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan to pass legislation permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. de Blasio hosted a meeting and press conference at City Hall with House members Charles B. Rangel, Joe Crowley, Carolyn Maloney, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks and Yvette Clarke. Dan Donovan attended the closed press meeting, but did not attend the press conference. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Public Advocate Tish James also attended the press conference.
For Mayor de Blasio it was a moment of shared interest, if not unity, with a group that he’s had a variety of political differences with. Renewal of the Zadroga Act, funding treatment for first responders ill from the effects of working in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, is a strongly shared interest transcending a variety of differences de Blasio has with City House members. It faces strong opposition in the Republican Congress, however, and a floor vote in the House is not certain to occur.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and many other New York City elected officials joined a Harlem rally Saturday demanding the renewal of rent regulations. Hosted by Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith L.T. Wright, the rally drew a modest crowd of about 200 people. Speakers included the Rev. Al Sharpton, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Charles Rangel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Members Brian Kavanagh and Guillermo Linares, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Members Inez Dickens, Vanessa Gibson, Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams.
With the legislative session rushing toward conclusion next week, expiration of the soon-to-sunset state laws governing rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments is an ever-increasing possibility. While it’s still likely that they’ll be renewed, the prospect of expiration is driving City Democrats into increasingly frantic efforts to renew and expand those laws. For Mayor Bill de Blasio it’s both an essential part of a core focus of his mayoralty and yet another chapter in the story of his friction-filled relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Congressman Charles Rangel today discussed his last minute decision to attend Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, saying that he attended at the urging of “friends” despite his own misgivings. Rangel had said, as late as the day before the speech, that he would not attend.
Congressman Charles B. Rangel discussed a series of congressional Republican actions which caused him to “wonder” and “worry”, closing with a harsh conclusion – America’s “enemies may not be all abroad.” Rangel spoke following a visit to a Manhattan high school.
Congressman Charles B. Rangel visited Edward A. Reynolds High School this afternoon, encouraging students to eat healthfully and, more broadly, to persevere through life’s challenges. His visit began with a spin class. Watch.
Nine members of congress representing New York City discussed the upcoming speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress and whether they plan to attend. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representatives Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Joe Crowley, Hakeem Jeffries, Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke joined Mayor Bill de Blasio this morning for a press conference at Gracie Mansion intended to focus on the House Republicans’ inability to fund DHS for longer than this week.
Senator Schumer and six of the eight house members said that they plan to attend. Charles Rangel does not plan to attend and Yvette Clarke said that she has not yet decided. Many of the representatives had harsh words for House Speaker John Boehner, with Velazquez denouncing his actions as “shameful.” Mayor de Blasio harshly criticized Speaker Boehner for his invitation to Netanyahu, but since he is not a member of congress de Blasio does not have the option to attend.
Here’s what Senator Schumer and the House members had to say:
Today Governor Andrew Cuomo brought his campaign to a close with three rallies across the state. He kicked off the day in Manhattan with a very large labor-driven rally at the edge of Times Square. The rally marked Cuomo’s first 2014 campaign appearance with both Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, each of whom are also up for reelection tomorrow. Kathy Hochul, multi-party candidate for lieutenant governor, was also part of the rally. Held out on 7th Avenue, the rally stretched at least two blocks (visible to me), with the Cuomo campaign reporting that the rally went for four blocks.
It was a strong showing in support of the four statewide candidates, with many of the leading names in New York’s labor movement speaking. Among them were George Gresham of SEIU 1199, Stuart Appelbaum of RWDSU, Gary LaBarbera of the Building & Construction Trades Council, Hector Figueroa of 32BJ and Peter Ward of the Hotel Trades Council.
Left unsaid by the labor leaders and candidates, however, was which party or ballot line they’re urging their supporters to choose in voting for all four candidates. All four are Democrats who also appear on the Working Families Party, Independence Party and Women’s Equality Party ballot lines. Cuomo has energetically pushed the “Women’s Equality Party”, a ballot line he created this year. Many see that effort as attempt to draw votes away from the Working Families Party, which counts many of the same unions appearing today as it’s core constituency.
With the rally held a stone’s throw from the theaters of Broadway, it seemed fitting that Hector Figueroa set part of his rally speech to music.
Update – Cuomo Speech:
Governor Cuomo gave a fiery speech today, harshly attacking Republicans who use “hate” to “try to divide us”. Our full analysis is here. Here’s his full speech:
For the second chapter of Clintons campaigning for Cuomo it was Bill Clinton, following in his wife’s footsteps, joining Andrew Cuomo Thursday evening for a campaign rally at SEIU 1199’s midtown headquarters. Many New York elected Democrats, including Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Scott Stringer, Tish James and Adriano Espaillat, joined them.
Cuomo gave a strong campaign speech, battering his Republican opponent and praising Clinton’s presidency. Clinton, speaking for more than 25 minutes, forcefully supported his former cabinet member but also meandered through other themes. He spoke of the broad consequences of the upcoming election, casting it primarily about the federal government and the changes that a Republican controlled senate could have. While engaging, his speech was not as solid an election battle cry as Cuomo’s speech.