This crowded race among Democrats includes Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James, State Senator Daniel Squadron, non-profit executive Reshma Saujani and Cathy Guerriero, a Columbia University professor from Staten Island.
After meeting with each of the candidates, we found some key skills and tendencies to consider.
James is a dogged fighter when it comes to issues on the local level, and if you need an advocate – or opponent – on a single issue, James is the person you want on your side. To this day James still discusses her fight to ensure that affordable housing was a key component of the Atlantic Yards project.
James has been endorsed by the Bronx Democratic Party.
Saujani mounted an unsuccessful run against Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney three years ago, and served a stint working under current Public Advocate Bill de Blasio before leaving to focus on her own nonprofit, Girls Who Code, which is a program that introduces young girls to the world of computer technology.
The Queens County Democratic Party has endorsed Reshma, and if she wins would set a historical precedent as the first South Asian elected official in New York.
Saujani has proven to be a pro when it comes to leveraging public-private partnerships, and we believe that she should continue to focus on the excellent work she has done on behalf of young people throughout the city through her own non-profit work.
The most experienced politician in the race is State Senator Daniel Squadron. His district stretches from Brooklyn into Manhattan. His diverse district has proven he can focus on a multitude of issues that effect not only different communities but different boroughs.
He also has an impressive knowledge of the the legislative system, a skill he no doubt honed working under Senator Charles Schumer. We feel that Squadron's skills and what he brings to public service would be a bad fit for the role of public advocate.
We found Cathy Guerriero to be best suited for the position of public advocate out of the primary candidates.
When asked who they support for mayor, only Guerriero gave a firm answer with no political swerving. When asked about her position on education, Guerriero was clear she wants parents and community leaders to have more say in the system. We like that.
We believe the city needs a public advocate free from the political influence, as well as the fire to fight on behalf of the citizens of New York without outside interference.
Guerriero will take a stand against the mayor or the City Council and not care how it will affect her political future.
The public advocate is an ex-officio member of every City Council committee and has influence in the legislative and budget process. One of the crucial goals of the office is to push the burdens of bureaucracy to the brink of efficiency. We think Guerriero can do that.
Our choice to endorse Guerriero became clear when it was obvious that she could debate with the best of them and stand on her principled, honest, direct approach.
We believe that, in Cathy, New Yorkers have a chance at having a public advocate that will not only fight on behalf of every New Yorker, but will shun the higher political aspirations that have neutered the office in the past.
Guerriero is a pit bull, and it's time to let her off the leash.