The most contested primary race in New York City this year is in the 15th Congressional district in the Bronx, where 12 people are vying for the Democratic nomination to replace the retiring Rep. José Serrano. If submitted, City Limits will publish one op-ed supporting each candidate.
The congressional primary in New York’s 15th District is a critical election for The Bronx and for New York at large. Congressman Jose Serrano is retiring after 30 years, and The Bronx needs a new leader who is ready on Day One to lead our community–a leader who is experienced while bringing the necessary change and leadership we need for The Bronx. Michael Blake is that person ready to show the people why we still believe in the Bronx and ask for your vote for Congress.
Michael Blake comes to you with the unique experience of being born and raised in The Bronx, serving in the Obama Administration, being a State Assembly Member and a national Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He offers a chance to elect someone with both federal and state government experience, someone who has the personal connections and knowledge to get things done in Washington, and yet remains tied to The Bronx, maintaining an unbreakable bond with this district. Blake is someone who will unite —evidenced by the fact that some of New York’s largest unions and most prominent elected officials have lent their support to his candidacy.
As a former Obama White House aide and a three-term New York State Assemblymember, Michael is ready to represent our home on Day One, and to fight for better schools, resources for our frontline workers, equal pay for equal work, protection of immigrant rights, and high-quality healthcare for all.
I personally hold several leadership positions within NYCHA tenant groups, and housing affordability, access, and equity are very important issues to me. In the New York State Assembly, Michael Blake helped secure a historic sum of $2.2 million for NYCHA building improvements in the Bronx. He also served as Chair of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing subcommittee, where he demanded greater transparency and accountability from New York’s housing programs. But, he won’t stop there. In Washington, Blake will fight to fund the construction of more affordable units, enshrine tenant protections in federal law, and pass other reforms that are long overdue in our district.
Michael Blake has demonstrated his commitment to The Bronx with both legislation and grassroots activism. In the Assembly, Michael co-sponsored the DREAM Act to expand access to higher education for immigrants. Then, back in the Bronx, when the coronavirus hit, he raised funds for more than one million meals and distributed hundreds of chromebooks so that our students could continue their education remotely.
Blake was also on the front lines to reform the state’s criminal justice system, from overhauling bail to getting youth off of Rikers Island by raising the age of criminal responsibility. Just recently, after the killing of George Floyd, Blake took to the streets alongside his fellow Bronxites to demand racial justice and an end to police brutality while co-sponsoring the Repeal of 50A. He knows that actions speak louder than words.
These are just a few examples of Michael Blake’s service, but he has worked on many other pieces of legislation and spent countless hours serving members of our community right here in the Bronx. I believe in Michael Blake for Congress because he believes in The Bronx.
Danny Barber is the head of the Resident Association at NYCHA’s Andrew Jackson Houses in the Bronx and is the chairman of the Citywide Council of Presidents of NYCHA resident associations.