Myrie Gets De Blasio Endorsement, Hamilton Raises Concerns Over NYCHA Lead Crisis

Sen. Jesse Hamilton

Mayor Bill de Blasio has officially claimed a candidate in the competitive Democratic race for the 20th State Senate District today, endorsing newcomer Zellnor Myrie, just a month shy of the primaries.

The endorsement comes as incumbent State Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) looks to hold onto his seat in the state legislature by appealing to local communities.

Hamilton spent the day at the Langston Hughes Houses in Brownsville addressing the lead crisis affecting residents of the New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Mayor Bill de Blasio

“This is a time for bold progressive change. With Zellnor Myrie in the state senate, what you see is what you will get – a committed progressive who will fight for working people from his first day in office. Zellnor will never accept the broken status quo. We need to elect Zellnor to hold a true Democratic majority in the state senate. A fairer future for Central Brooklyn depends on it,” said de Blasio. 

Since the outset of his campaign, Zellnor has maintained his position as a progressive and “true” Democrat, criticizing Hamilton’s previous membership in the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) for its role in forming a ruling majority coalition with Republicans in the chamber. A membership that many of the state and city “progressive” officials still hold against the senator.

Hamilton broke away from the Senate Democrats in 2016 aligning himself with seven other breakaway Democrats to form the now defunct group. In the last several months, an anti-IDC movement emerged aimed at ousting all former members this year.

Democratic State Senate Candidate Zellnor Myrie

“With Mayor de Blasio and a true Democratic State Senate, we can finally achieve the progressive goals our Brooklyn community has been advocating for. Together we can finally expand affordable housing, fully fund our public schools, and give our immigrant communities the rights and protections they deserve,” said Myrie.

However, the endorsement is nothing new for Hamilton who sees the support as an alignment of values for a Mayor he feels, is slowly pushing out longterm residents in favor of professional, young newcomers.

 “It isn’t surprising that the gentrifier’s candidate is endorsed by the Gentrifier-in-Chief.  This administration’s housing agenda including proposing $1 million condos at the Bedford Union Armory has helped destroy affordability in our communities. Jesse Hamilton has fought tirelessly to stop the displacement caused by these disastrous policies,” said Hamilton Campaign Spokesperson Charles Jean-Pierre.

In recent weeks, Myrie has been racking up the endorsements of many of the city’s top officials including that of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Comptroller Scott Stringer. Locally, Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant, East Flatbush, Crown Heights) and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville), who both represent swaths of the 20th State Senate district also endorsed Myrie.

“Our community is facing a housing crisis. Family owned businesses are closing and our families are being priced out while our state Senator sold out his community by joining the IDC. Zellnor Myrie is going to fight to keep us in our homes. I’m proud to stand with Zellnor because he stands with the people of Brooklyn over developers,” said a spokesperson for Ampry-Samuel.

“For four years, strong Assembly housing legislation was watered down by Jesse Hamilton and his partners in the Republican Senate. Zellnor Myrie will change the Senate, change Albany, and keep long-term Brooklynites in their homes. Whether its Criminal Justice reform, housing, or the environment – Zellnor Myrie stands with people over lobbyists. He is a proven leader who has a real plan to address the challenges we face in Central Brooklyn,” said a spokesperson for Walker.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

Hamilton, at a public housing event earlier today, focused on three bills to help address the NYCHA lead crisis.

Senate Bill 6971A would include lead screening in pre-school and kindergarten students in school entry protocols, treating lead screening similar to immunization. Senate Bill 7796 would strengthen follow-up state health protocols when a health care provider finds elevated lead levels in a child’s blood, directing an environmental investigation by the Department of Health. Senate Bill 7633 would require NYCHA to issue an annual report on lead paint inspections and fund the training of NYCHA residents to inspect for lead and repaint apartments.

The Democratic primary on Sept. 13. The district includes Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, and Sunset Park.