Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, who is running for New York Lieutenant Governor, joined dozens of advocates outside State Board of Elections offices in Albany last Thursday to announce that his campaign has collected more than 68,000 petition signatures backing his effort to secure ballot access for his candidacy.
“I’d like to thank Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo and his Lt. Gov. [Kathy Hochul] for blocking our nomination during May’s [state]Democratic Convention,” Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, told reporters. “Because of their incumbent protection politics, our team has quickly built out a highly functioning campaign that has allowed us to engage with countless voters across New York by gathered a historic number of petition signatures.
“I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all of the dedicated volunteers who have helped our grassroots campaign to achieve such strong momentum toward my becoming the people’s Lt. Gov.,” added the New York City Council, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
Advocates from the Working Families Party, Citizen Action, the New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN) and other progressive organizations joined Williams to celebrate as the historic number of petitions were submitted Thursday afternoon.
In addressing the gathering, Williams called on Hochul to accept his request to “debate the issues” and the role of the Lieutenant Governor position itself “to give the voters an opportunity to determine who they believe would be the best Democratic nominee and representative of the people.”
The Hochul campaign is yet to respond to Williams’ request.
“The Cuomo-Hochul machine has done everything that it can to prevent true progressives from having an option in this primary, seemingly out of fear,” Williams said. “Now that it is clear those efforts were unsuccessful, the voters of New York deserve a chance to hear from the candidates on who best represents their progressive values. And I eagerly await the opportunity to debate.”
Fifteen thousand signatures from registered Democratic voters across New York State are required for ballot access to compete in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary elections.
Williams said his progressive, grassroots campaign has secured endorsements from local and state elected officials across New York, and a number of progressive organizations, including the Working Families Party. He is an advocate for affordable housing, anti-gun violence measures, fair policing, quality education, criminal justice reform, equity and social justice.