Menin Kicks Off Manhattan Borough President Bid With Nod to OWS

The scene from today's press conference.

The scene from today’s press conference.

Julie Menin, the former Chair of Community Board 1, formally announced her campaign for Manhattan Borough President today on the steps of City Hall. And, in addition to touting Democratic staples like addressing economic inequality, Ms. Menin, who’s hoping to replace outgoing Borough President Scott Stringer, made sure to point to her stances on controversies she’s had to deal with in Lower Manhattan, including Occupy Wall Street and the so-called “9/11 Mosque.”

“I led the charge for standing up freedom of religion for the Islamic cultural center and mosque, and I will tell you that there were not many people who would stand up with us at the time,” she contended. “I’m proud I led our community board to a 29-to-1 vote in favor of that. For me it was very personal; my mother–I’m so happy–is here with me here today, lived through the Holocaust in Hungary.”

While stressing her work to keep a “balance” between protesters and local residents, she added, “I also stood up for…the rights of Occupy Wall Street to say, ‘Of course we have a First Amendment Right to keep protesting.”

Ms. Menin’s announcement doesn’t exactly come as a surprise as she has been campaigning for some time and even maxed our her fundraising for next year’s Democratic primary. But today’s event appeared to be a show of strength; she stood before a packed crowd of supporters and reporters were handed a dozen-page press release filled with the endorsements of local leaders and activists from around the borough.

She is joined in the race by Upper East Side Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and Uptown Councilman Robert Jackson. Potentially completing the election’s geographic diversity, Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer has said she’s running in the past, but has yet to ramp up her campaign efforts.