Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito kicked off her campaign Tuesday for city public advocate, becoming one of the favorites in an already-crowded race.
Mark-Viverito, who exclusively told NY1 on Tuesday morning of her plans to run, officially launched her campaign Tuesday night at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Mark-Viverito, who represented East Harlem and parts of the Bronx while serving in the City Council from 2014 to the end of 2017, positioned herself as an advocate to assist New Yorkers struggling with high housing costs. The former lawmaker also demanded help for city public housing residents, and slammed New York giving tax incentives to Amazon for it to move part of its second headquarters, HQ2, to Long Island City — a deal her ally, Mayor Bill de Blasio, helped secure.
"We all know Amazon deserves tax breaks about as much as Donald Trump deserves a Medal of Honor," the former city council speaker said at her campaign launch event.
Mark-Viverito has almost $400,000 in campaign cash at her disposal.
"I'm very much someone who has a strong record of being vocal, of being passionate about issues of injustice and making sure that our government creates more equity within our city and that's what I want to bring to this position," Mark-Viverito said.
The former city council speaker wasn't the only person to announce her run for public advocate Tuesday: State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker of Brooklyn announced her campaign on NY1's "Inside City Hall" in the evening.
State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker of Brooklyn announcing her public advocate campaign on NY1's "Inside City Hall" on Tuesday. She joins a field of more than half-a-dozen candidates.
NY1 asked Mark-Viverito if she would use the public advocate's job as a stepping stone to become mayor, but she said she's not thinking beyond her current campaign.
Bill de Blasio spent one term as public advocate before he was elected mayor.
Letitia James will step down as public advocate in January, when she will be sworn in as New York attorney general.
The mayor is expected to call for a special election for the position in early 2019, likely late February.
Other declared candidates include Brooklyn Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, and State Assemblyman Michael Blake of the Bronx.