Public Advocate Williams Plants Grassroots in Mid-Hudson Trip

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From Left to Right: NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Ulster County Legislator Brian Cahill, Ulster County Legislative Chairman Dave Donaldson, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan at the announcement of supportive housing in Ulster County. Photo from Ulster County Legislative Executive’s office.

He’s either barnstorming the state on the way to officially announcing a run for governor or decided to take on being the pro bono public advocate for the Mid-Hudson.

Either way, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is broadening out his state appeal in a growing grassroots movement.

Williams was prominently featured in Ulster County Executive’s Pat Ryan’s press release Thursday announcing a new supportive housing facility for families and individuals in the Town of Ulster – 114 miles north of Gotham.

“New Yorkers experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness deserve supportive housing with robust services and a pathway to permanent housing,” said Williams in the third paragraph of Ryan’s press release.

“This project is an essential lifeline and an effective solution that will greatly improve the lives of so many in Ulster County, so I commend the work of County Executive Pat Ryan and all the organizations and advocates who came together to make this a reality,“ he added.

The press conference announced how a Quality Inn hotel’s 145 rooms would be converted to about 100 apartments with wrap-around services including health and mental health care, career counseling and job training, childcare, and support for finding permanent housing.

It was the second Mid-Hudson stop of the day for Williams, who earlier in the day joined City of Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson and housing advocates for a rally to advance tenant protection legislation.

Johnson said Williams has an existing relationship with the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition, a Black-led organization that is fighting gentrification and believes housing is a right and envisions “a world built on principles of equality, justice, and solidarity, where care will replace the forces of policing, criminalization, and abandonment of marginalized communities.”

Johnson stopped just short of officially endorsing Williams for governor, but said he’s done a lot of work amongst the people and would be happy to see wherever he lands.

“I would have to get to see what his platform [for governor] is. We’ll see what his competition is, but he’s a great guy and hopefully would have my support,” said Johnson.

Ryan’s spokesperson Daniel Torres said Ryan was invited to the press conference after learning that Williams would be in the area.

“It [Supportive housing] is an issue that both he and the county executive care about and have worked on. He [Williams] was in the area so we were happy to have him join us,” said Torres.

Both Johnson and Ryan share leftist values with Williams. Both have initiated guaranteed income for all pilot programs in their jurisdictions.

This is at least the second upstate stop Williams has made in recent weeks as he visited Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo last month.

Williams this week said he is considering a run for governor and ruled out running for lieutenant governor.