Letitia James

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Letitia James
On January 1, 2014, Letitia James was sworn in as the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the first woman of color to hold a citywide position in our city’s history. In her first months in office, she successfully pushed forth proposals to bring Universal School Lunch and police body-worn cameras to New York City. In fall 2014, the office re-launched the city’s Worst Landlords Watchlist, expanding the list and adding significant technological upgrades.

As a member of the New York City Council, James introduced the Safe Housing Act, which became City law in 2007. This ground-breaking bill ensured that thousands of families in rental buildings receive prompt and full repairs to their apartments. This bill represented a $50 million investment in housing code reform and is a major victory for all New Yorkers living in substandard buildings. She is considered an early whistleblower of the Office of Payroll Administration’s CityTime contract, a payroll system that she criticized as being overly costly and difficult to manage in numerous committee hearings. Poor management of the project led to hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen by corrupt consultants. In 2012, her legislation addressing oversight of high-cost service contracts with the City of New York was passed into law.

As Chair to the Council’s Sanitation Committee, in 2010 James pushed-through a revolutionary recycling package that included expanding plastic recycling, a new clothing and textile recycling program, and improved public space recycling. This legislative package represented the first significant expansion of the City’s residential recycling program since it was created in 1989.

James is a graduate of CUNY's Lehman College and Howard University Law School, and can be seen in the Atlantic Yards documentary, “Battle for Brooklyn”. She has worked with the New York State Legislature, and has served as a former public defender, New York State Assistant Attorney General, and New York City Council Member.