New York State Sen. Bill Perkins is back in the New York City Council.
Perkins won a special election for the City Council’s 9th District seat Tuesday, beating out a pool of eight other candidates that included Larry Scott Blackmon (who was endorsed by Inez Dickens), Marvin Holland (TWU Local 100’s political director who was endorsed by the Working Families Party), Athena Moore (a staffer for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer) and Charles Cooper (vice-chair of Community Board 9).
“Obviously we’re very honored to have received the support from the community to return to the City Council and continue the work that we’ve been doing over the years on that level,” said Perkins to the AmNews. “It means the opportunity to get things done that are unique in terms of what the Council offers. [We’ll be able] to focus on local issues and work with a legislative body that has an advantage in terms of getting things done.”
When asked if that was a shot at Albany, Perkins said it wasn’t meant to be and stated that things just get done quicker on the local level.
“Sometimes, because of the politics that take place, things don’t move as effectively as the needs call for,” Perkins said. “The Council seems to be more ready to move on very important policies and concerns that the Harlem community needs to address.” Some of those concerns, according to Perkins, include housing, education and sanitation issues.
Perkins was endorsed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the United Federation of Teachers and 32BJ SEIU.
“Our members endorsed Bill Perkins because of his long record of fighting for workers at the local and state level and now he will continue that fight in the City Council,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa in a statement after the election was called for Perkins. “He has committed to fight for a fair workweek for fast food and other low-wage workers, advocate for responsible development that creates both good jobs and affordable housing and stand up for immigrant families in our city.”
De Blasio endorsed Perkins four days before the election, calling the current state senator “as strong and effective a progressive leader as they come.” De Blasio added, “Bill took on landlords to strengthen our lead paint laws to protect our children, worked to raise wages for workers, fought for cleaner air and has been a tireless champion of public schools.”
Perkins told the AmNews that he plans on making himself more visible now that he’s leaving the New York State Senate. It’s something he said he missed when he went to Albany.
“You only see elected officials when it’s time for a vote,” said Perkins when speaking of lessons he learned as he first went into public life. “You might have other criticisms of me, but you won’t have that one. You will see me. I will be walking the streets, taking the subways and taking the buses. I want you to be able to confront me on the streets and we’ll deal with it.”
Perkins continued, “I want the visibility and the accessibility of me to the community and the community to me to give them the feeling that someone is there for them. I think this is as important sometimes as other things that take place legislatively.”