Women of City Government Endorse Marjorie Velázquez in 13th District Race
Bronx community board 10 Treasurer and community advocate Velázquez earns endorsement of Manhattan BP and 9 women in Council, including Speaker Mark-Viverito and Women's Caucus co-chairs Rosenthal and Crowley; announcement comes amid declining representation by women in city government
Leading city officials' support builds momentum for only woman candidate in crowded Bronx race, contrasts with anti-choice voting record and ethics issues for opponent Mark Gjonaj
Democrat Marjorie Velázquez, candidate in the race for the Bronx 13th Council District, has earned the overwhelming support of city government's women elected officials with the endorsement Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and nine members of the City Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Women's Caucus co-chairs Elizabeth Crowley and Helen Rosenthal. The major announcement comes as Velázquez continues to build momentum as the only woman and Latina in a crowded field of eight candidates, and further contrasts her inclusive, progressive candidacy with the anti-choice record of opponent Mark Gjonaj.
"Marjorie Velázquez is a fierce leader who will fight tirelessly for the 13th District and all New Yorkers," said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "At a time when we have seen declining numbers of women on the Council, Marjorie will bring the kind of representation and advocacy we need in city government. I proudly support her election to the Council."
"It's an honor to receive the support of such inspirational women, who each have blazed a trail to public office in the city," said Marjorie Velázquez. "I would say that I'm proud to be the only woman running for office in the 13th district, but the truth is that far too few women have been given the means and the opportunity to follow the example of these leaders. This needs to change, and I look forward to playing a part in changing this by becoming the next council member for the 13th district."
With the officials' endorsements, Velázquez earns some of her highest-profile supporters to date. The 10 officials hail from every corner of the five boroughs, and include trailblazers who were the first woman elected to represent their respective districts.
This comes amid growing concern over the anticipated decline in representation by women in the council. Four of the 13 women currently serving in the legislative body, including the Speaker, are term-limited at the end of 2017. A fifth, former councilmember Inez Dickens, vacated her seat following her election to the Assembly in November.
The endorsements serve to further contrast Velázquez with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, her principal opponent in the council race. Gjonaj has received criticism from women's rights groups for sending taxpayer-funded mailers touting his support for the ten-point women's equality agenda, a suite of bills he voted against. The Bronx pol has also faced scrutiny for his use of campaign funds and office resources in support of his businesses and family members.
The full list of endorsers is as follows:
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council Member Margaret Chin
Council Member Rosie Mendez
Council Member Helen Rosenthal
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley
Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland
Council Member Karen Koslowitz
Council Member Laurie Cumbo
Council Member Deborah Rose