A long-serving state senator in the northeast Bronx has accepted a post in Governor Cuomo’s administration.
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who has represented the 36th district for 16 years, begins her new position as Special Advisor for Policy and Community Affairs for NYS State Homes and Community Renewal on July 1.
Attention is now turning to who will replace her in the senate.
The state agency that Hassell-Thomson joins is tasked with building, preserving and protecting affordable housing and encouraging home ownership across the state. She said she is thrilled to join the Cuomo administration.
“Under Governor Cuomo, HCR has a tremendous impact on advancing housing policy state-wide, including the Governor’s efforts in developing and protecting affordable housing and protecting vulnerable communities,” said Hassell-Thompson. “I am excited to lend my expertise to those efforts.” Hassell-Thompson has served in the state legislature since 2000, having previously been in the Mount Vernon City Council, a registered nurse, and CEO of Whart Development Company, Inc., a real estate developer.
The heavily Democratic seat will be effectively decided in the party’s primary on Tuesday, September 13.
The district covers Baychester, Williamsbridge, Wakefield, Co-op City and Norwood in the Bronx and part of Mount Vernon in Westchester.
The petitioning process, which determines who will be on the ballot in September, is still underway and petition signatures are being collected through mid-July.
Prospective candidates, include Jamaal Bailey, Rev. Que English, Rev. Edward Mulraine, Pamela Johnson, Crystal Collins and Dr. Alvin Ponder.
Bailey, an attorney, is Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s community affairs director and Male Disrrict Leader in the 83rd Assembly District.
He got his start in Heastie’s office 12 years ago, when he interned in Albany while attending college, he said.
“I really feel that my legislative experience is what sets me apart in the field,” said Bailey, who added that he has tangible experience in government and roots in the community.
He has been a resident of the borough for nearly his entire life, he said.
Bailey said that he sees the top needs of the district as education through teaching the ‘whole child’; making sure that people have quality jobs that they can take pride in and that offer clear paths for advancement and improving quality-of-life, especially for seniors and young people.
English brings experience not only as a pastor, but also as an activist and advocate for the people, she said.
“I have been an advocate for the people and have been working for criminal justice reform, economic development and education reform for many years,” said English, adding that she sees herself as a strategist, innovator and a movement builder.
Mulraine said he has served as Williamsbride NAACP president and on the Board of Education District 11 school board, and has a quarter century of experience serving the community both in the Bronx portion of the district and in Mount Vernon.
“I am not hand-picked and bank-rolled by special interest persons or groups,” said Mulraine. “I am running a grassroots campaign of volunteers and people who want better leadership in Albany.”
Mulraine is the pastor of Unity Baptist Tabernacle Church in Mount Vernon, NY.