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October 22, 2019
Contact: Jake Oliver, [email protected], (347) 361-9983

View Citizens Union’s Online Voters Directory Here

New York, N.Y. (October 22, 2019)— After undertaking a rigorous evaluation of candidates running in the upcoming elections for New York City Public Advocate and Queens District Attorney, Citizens Union, New York’s preeminent nonpartisan good government groups today announced its endorsements of Jumaane Williams and Melinda Katz. 

“Citizens Union is pleased to endorse Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate and Melinda Katz for Queens District Attorney. Both of these public servants have a long and distinguished track record and demonstrated a deep commitment to a robust reform agenda,” said Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of Citizens Union. “We encourage all voters to take a long, hard look at all of the candidates in both of these races, and carefully study the questions to reform the City Charter that will appear on the back of their ballots.” 

As a nonpartisan government watchdog organization dedicated to improving democratic institutions in New York City and State, Citizens Union evaluates candidates based on their commitment to a reform agenda and their potential to advance these issues, as well as their ability to effectively carry out the responsibilities of the office they seek. 

Citizens Union’s nonpartisan candidate evaluations are among the most extensive and methodical in the state. Each candidate is given a comprehensive questionnaire asking their positions on key issues, and is interviewed by a nonpartisan team of the organization’s members. In addition to information gathered through the questionnaires and interviews, hundreds of hours of research contribute to the final endorsement decision.

Williams is the current Public Advocate, who won a special election for the position in February, and a former New York City Council Member. In his first seven months as Public Advocate, Williams has shifted the office’s focus from litigation, as it was under his predecessor, to an organizing-based approach. Williams has stated that he would focus on keeping city agencies accountable, acting as a “charter cop,” by issuing reports on government services and promoting relevant legislation.

“As a former Public Advocate, I know firsthand how serious the work of being a voice for all New Yorkers is, and I am confident that Jumaane will continue to faithfully and effectively serve as the City’s ombudsman, ensuring that city agencies are delivering services fairly,” Gotbaum added. “Given the recent increase in the office’s budget, I am confident Jumaane will be able to expand on the impressive work he has done in his first seven months in office, and continue to press for accountability in city government.”

Melinda Katz is currently the Queens Borough President, and has previously served as a New York City Council Member and New York State Assembly Member. Katz’s campaign for Queens District Attorney is focused on her promises to reduce gun violence, to diversify the Queens District Attorney’s office to more accurately represent the borough of Queens, to create a Conviction Integrity Unit in the office, and to protect immigrants and workers in Queens. 

“Melinda Katz has a long and distinguished career in public service and has demonstrated strong organizational and leadership capabilities that will allow her to effectively  manage the DA’s office, and strengthen relationships with the diverse communities in Queens.” said Gotbaum. 

In addition to the races for Public Advocate and Queens District Attorney, New York City voters will also be voting to reform the City Charter. You can read about Citizens Union’s positions on the five ballot questions and learn more about the candidates running in this race and access information about voting in New York City by reading the Voters Directory on Citizens Union’s website

About Citizens Union
For 120 years, Citizens Union (CU) has been a force for transparency, accountability and ethics in New York’s City and State governments. A nonpartisan organization, some of our current initiatives include increased voter participation and civic engagement, greater police accountability, and an accurate 2020 census. Learn more at

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