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US group wants support for Jamaican-born legislator for NY public advocate

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NEW YORK, USA (CMC) — The Bronx, New York-based Garifuna Coalition, USA Inc says its Political Action Committee (Garifuna PAC) is urging public support for New York state assemblyman, Jamaican-born Michael Blake for public advocate.

The official date for New York City’s citywide special election for public advocate has been set for February 26.

“As public advocate, Michael promises to always put the people of New York City first. He is in this race because he wants to build on the work we’ve done together to help all New Yorkers,” said the group in a statement Wednesday.

“Since his election to the New York Assembly, Blake has proven to be a friend and supporter of the Bronx Garifuna Community, sponsoring an event to celebrate the contributions of the Garifuna-American community to the city and state of New York,” it added. “Michael is the kind of leader our city deserves. Will you join us in supporting Michael’s campaign?”

“Your contributions will help Michael’s campaign spread his message of jobs and justice to New Yorkers across our city,” the coalition continues. “And because his campaign is truly ‘#ForthePeople,’ it relies on grassroots donations from supporters like you.”

The Garifuna Coalition said all New York City contributions would be matched eight to one, but only if they met their goal of 500 donations by January 11.

On Tuesday, the Blake for New York campaign released preliminary fund-raising numbers showing that it has raised nearly US$1 million dollars for his public advocate campaign.

The campaign said Blake raised about US$981,679 in combined private and public matching funds during the first reporting period of the race, including US$646,232 in New York City matching funds.

“The demonstration of financial strength and ability to continue receiving match-able funds establishes him as one of the clear front-runners in the crowded race,” the campaign said.

“I’m honoured that so many New Yorkers believe in our vision of ‘#JobsAndJustice’,” Blake said. “We are building a grassroots movement that is truly of, by, and ‘#ForThePeople’.

“Our campaign is proud to participate in the city’s new public match program that was overwhelmingly voted on by New Yorkers in November, ensuring everyday New Yorkers have the strongest voice in this election,” he added.

“As our movement for ‘#JobsAndJustice’ builds, we will continue to reach out to New Yorkers to prove why our vision is right for the future of our city,” Blake continued.

Additionally, Blake said his campaign submitted 10,000 petition signatures, ensuring that he will be second on the February 26 ballot under the party name of “For the People”.

Meanwhile, one of the leading candidates for public advocate, New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, on Tuesday submitted his first financial disclosure report to the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

Jumaane 4 NYC, as the campaign is called, said the disclosure shows more than $US 1 million raised — including $107,883 claimed for matching funds — from 1,829 contributors after surpassing the NYC public matching threshold.

Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, is among a bevy of about two dozen candidates seeking the position that was held by Letitia James, who has been elected New York state attorney general.

Williams said he has been endorsed by a slew of labour unions, community organisations and elected officials.

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