Julie Menin steps down from de Blasio administration; City Council run might be in cards

Director of Census for New York Julie Menin speaks at Census 2020 rally outside of City Hall Park.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

Last week, Julie Menin officially stepped down from her position as the city’s 2020 census director. Now, sources say she might be taking a stab at running for City Council.

“Serving the city I love has been a tremendous honor – and I know New York City’s best days still lie ahead,” said Menin in her resignation. “This year’s census was the challenge of a lifetime, and I’m proud to have helped immigrant communities and communities of color make their voices heard this year.”

It is believed that Menin will be making a run for City Council’s District 5 seat, currently held by Ben Kallos, who will be termed out in 2021. Though Menin has not officially announced a City Council run in her resignation, there are rumblings that an announcement could be made in the coming weeks.

Under Menin’s leadership, New York City had a 61.8% self-response rate for the 2020 Census, which is a higher response rate than many other major U.S. cities as well as the Census Bureau’s predicted 58% response rate for the city. This number is particularly significant as the census count took place during the height of the pandemic, and the Trump administration made repeated attempts to shut down the census count early.

At the same time, Menin was the Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel at the NYC Law Department.

“Hands down, Julie Menin joins this race as the front runner. She’s the only candidate with any significant public service experience which includes serving as a Commissioner in the Bloomberg administration. And with the economic and health crises our city is facing, it will be critical to have an intelligent and experienced person like Julie Menin on the Council,” an East Side Democratic Leader told amNewYork Metro.

Prior to taking on the role of census director, Menin had previously served as the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and as the commissioner of The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, both under de Blasio. Menin had also served in the Bloomberg administration as the redistricting commissioner.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she founded and was the president of the nonprofit Wall Street Rising, which helped lead to the recovery of the downtown Manhattan area. In 2005, Menin began her tenure as the Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1, a position she held for seven years. 

Also eyeing Kallos’ District 5 seat are Rebecca Lamorte, Kim Moscaritolo, Christopher Sosa, Joshua Kravitz, Tricia Shimamura and Billy Freeland, all of whom are running on the Democratic party line. Given her past experience with public service and the mayor’s office, some believe that Menin would be the front runner in this race compared to a newcomer.

“I’ve known Julie for over a decade, I have an incredibly high opinion of her,” said another source told amNewYork Metro. “She’s the former commissioner under two mayors. I think she’ll be at the top of her class in the field. I was a first-time candidate myself, so I can empathize with others, but Julie has a different sort of gravitas. She brings something a little different — she is not the typical first-time candidate, which is why I think she has an advantage.”

Menin did not return a request for comment at the time of publication.

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