Team Cuomo Shores Up Black Support With Jeffries’ Help

Lupe Todd-Median

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries‘ (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Coney Island, and South Ozone Park and Howard Beach in Queens ) ability as both a shrewd lawmaker and a strategic political powerbroker  continues to grow.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

That after the campaign for Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week announced the hiring of two seasoned political operatives and alumni of numerous Jeffries’ campaigns to spearhead get out the vote operations and communications strategy for the black community statewide.

Wayne K. Williams was hired as African American/Black Vote director. Lupe Todd-Medina has been appointed Senior Communications Strategist. Both cut their political teeth working for and/or with Jeffries.

Both also worked for the late Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, the first African American to serve as the borough’s chief prosecutor who was elected in 2013. Thompson and Jeffries were great friends, and Jeffries’ support was instrumental in helping Thompson defeat longtime incumbent, the former DA, Charles Hynes.

With more than two decades of experience in the political arena, Todd-Medina has been a national spokesperson for many prominent black and Latino elected leaders throughout New York and the tri-state region.

Lupe Todd-Medina
Wayne Williams

Williams is on leave as deputy chief of staff to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, the first Latino district attorney in New York State. He has served in several roles within government and is a widely respected political strategist throughout central Brooklyn.

Both Williams and Todd-Medina have deep ties among the city’s black clergy, notable citywide community stakeholders and longtime relationships with most of the state’s top elected officials of color.

Cuomo’s hiring of both Williams and Todd-Medina, along with the rise of Public Advocate Letitia James, now running for  State Attorney General with Cuomo’s support is yet another indication of how Brooklyn’s Central Brooklyn black community has replaced Harlem as the center of the city’s black political power base.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

And as for Jeffries, who has the greatest respect for U.S. Senator Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), it should be noted that Schumer is coming up for re-election in 2022, at which time he will be 72-years-old – not the oldest for a U.S. Senator, but no spring chicken for one as well.

Jeffries, like Schumer, has a very high political IQ, along with the ability to work across the aisle to get legislation done. His recent sweeping prison reform bill, crafted with Republican Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA), is evidence of that.

While Jeffries could not be reached for comment, Al Vann, a former state assemblyman, council member and the founder of the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA), arguably the most powerful black political club in the state, spoke well for both Williams and Todd-Medina.

“I have worked with both Wayne and Lupe and I know that they are excellent additions to the Cuomo Team,” said Vann.

“Historically, central Brooklyn has always had a fighting spirit and a willingness to set the political course for the entire city.  It is essential for any candidate running for statewide office to seek the support of central Brooklyn’s constituency,” he added.