Yesterday afternoon at City Hall, Congresswomen Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velazquez announced jointly that they are endorsing Bill de Blasio for Brooklyn borough president.
These early endorsements follow announcements of support for de Blasio from UNITE-HERE and The NY Hotel Trades Council. Combined with the campaign’s announcement yesterday of having raised "nearly $1 million dollars" ("$177,454 this filing period and $621,891 this cycle"), de Blasio is looking a bit like a foregone thing. (It’s unclear at this point exactly who else is running.
The endorsements were announced on the City Hall steps, with about 25 or so supporters standing behind the congresswomen and de Blasio, squinting into the sun and holding "For Brooklyn ’09’" signs.
Velazquez spoke first, then Clarke. They both expressed excitement about his campaign and reiterated the base of the de Blasio platform: education, affordable housing, living-wage jobs, and small-business development. Clarke mentioned specifically his ability to "push up" against the administration.
"I’m here to say, Bill de Blasio all the way," she said.
De Blasio took the podium after Clarke and said he is "very emotional about this." He gave a nod to the women around him, including his wife, who he wrapped his arm around and said before kissing her, "It’s not going to be one of those Al and Tipper [Gore] kisses that goes on too long."
He went on to describe his relationship with both congresswomen, particularly Clarke (formerly his colleague in the City Council), who he endorsed in her successful 2006 Congressional primary, and talked about what his goals would be as borough president.
"I think I can make a tremendous impact on Brooklyn," he said, adding that his concern would be to "shape development for the people of the borough."
He mentioned Brooklyn’s vulnerability to gentrification and the drive for a "green and sustainable borough."
Answering a question afterwards about last week’s news that Charlie Rangel is occupying four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem, de Blasio said,
"He is a person of tremendous honor. He has served us very well. I don’t doubt for a second he believed he was doing everything within the law."