Julie Menin announces city council run with backing of heavy hitters

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Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Julie Menin is moving on to the next thing after resigning from her post as New York City census director in mid-November, announcing her candidacy for City Council in the Upper East Side district currently represented by Ben Kallos.

A Tuesday zoom call with leaders across the state likely puts Menin in the position of the front-runner in the race which is being eyed by six others: Rebecca Lamorte, Kim Moscaritolo, Christopher Sosa, Joshua Kravitz, Tricia Shimamura, and Billy Freeland

Tricia Shimamura has been endorsed by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney while Menin now has the official support of the United Federation of Teachers, former Governor David Patterson, former Public Advocate Mark Green, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and councilwoman representing the neighboring district, Diana Ayala.

“As director of the census we achieved a record-setting result that surpassed almost every other major American city that is going to bring billions of dollars in federal funding to our city over the next decade that is truly going to lift up black and brown communities,” Menin said. “As council member, what I would do is we need to work with small business services, we need to beef up the existing workforce development centers. There’s a lot more work we’ll need to do, I’ll be releasing policy proposals on that to ensure that more people are getting access to jobs.”

Before Menin served as census director, she was Commissioner of the Department of Consumer affairs and credited by Ayala for her work on the issue of synthetic marijuana. According to Ayala, her endorsement of Menin was also influenced by the need for more women in government.

She also served as commissioner of The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment under Mayor Bill de Blasio and as Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel at the NYC Law Department.

Dennis Gault, a UFT Manhattan borough coordinator, attributed Menin’s leadership on Manhattan Community Board 1, where she served as chair, to the building of three new schools and her role in Consumer Affairs investigating for-profit colleges.

“The census returns will bring a much-needed $1.5 billion in funding for our public schools,” Gault said of the 61.8% self-response rate for the 2020 Census in New York City, up from the 58% predicted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Shimamura likely has a footprint in the district having served as deputy chief of staff for Maloney and advocating for projects such as the Second Avenue Subway as well as renovations to the East River Esplanade. While she has the backing of the congresswoman, who recently secured her own re-election in November, 21 in ’21 has also endorsed her.

“I have seen firsthand how hard Tricia works for our community, whether it was helping 9/11 first responders access healthcare services or fighting to preserve our parks and open space as a member of Community Board 8,” Maloney said. “I look forward to working with her as our next Council Member so we can tackle the needs of our district, including improving the resiliency of the East River Esplanade, helping our small businesses keep the lights on during the economic recovery from the COVID19 pandemic, and working to ensure every family has access to affordable childcare by working with partners at all levels of government to enact Universal Childcare.”

A social worker and community advocate, Shimamura also served as First Vice-Chair of Manhattan Community Board 8. If successful in her run, she would be the first Japanese-American elected to office in New York.

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