Dec. 10, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
Flushing Assemblymember Ron Kim has launched his campaign for public advocate, becoming one of several candidates joining in on the ever-crowding race.
Kim, who is currently serving his fourth term as assemblyman for the 40th district, announced his run on Monday and laid the basis for his “people over corporations” campaign in a promotional video.
The Flushing native brought up issues like student debt, threats to small businesses, the crumbling state of NYCHA and more in his anti-corporations campaign.
“While predatory financial companies continue to turn profits on the backs of working and middle class New Yorkers, politicians never address the core problem: our system prioritizes corporations over people,” Kim said in his video.
He denounced, for instance, the incentives package the city and state have granted Amazon as part of its deal to locate to Long Island City, and questioned the government’s willingness to offer the incentives while infrastructure needs seemingly go unaddressed.
He also criticized tax breaks given to real estate developers in the face of the crisis facing public housing.
Small businesses, meanwhile, are suffering under what he says is a tangle of programs and legislation that deliberately favor corporations over everyday citizens.
The $35 billion in student debt among New Yorkers, meanwhile, is a crushing reality that follows many for the rest of their lives. Kim, however, vows to focus on debt forgiveness if elected to the office.
Kim said his office, if elected to the position, would focus on highlighting and calling for legislation and reforms all aimed at combating these issues.
“The issues are big, and complex,” he said. “But the solution is simple if we’re willing to be bold and put people over corporations.”
The public advocate position has been occupied by Letitia James since 2014, who will vacate the role when she begins to serve as attorney general next month. The new public advocate seat, meanwhile, will be filled by the winner of a special election at the beginning of next year.
Over two dozen elected officials are running for this position, including Councilmembers Rafael Espinal, Jumaane Williams, former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblymember Michael Blake, and activist and journalist Nomiki Konst.