Brooklyn’s Top 10 Elected Officials

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Erica Sherman/Brooklyn BP's Office
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Brooklyn’s Top 10 Elected Officials

So much of NY’s political power is concentrated in Kings County.
September 20, 2020

1. Hakeem Jeffries

House Democratic Caucus Chair

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
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Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock

The impeachment trial was supposed to be the Fort Greene congressman’s moment in the national spotlight, but his star turn never materialized. Hakeem Jeffries has been busy holding the Trump administration accountable for what he called a pattern of “chaos and corruption” and mucking up the mail. He hopes to grow the Democratic caucus next year, but progressive challengers picked off several veteran lawmakers, including Eliot Engel, in primaries, complicating his speakership quest. 

2. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senate Minority Leader

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U.S. Senate

Charles Schumer’s role crafting coronavirus relief packages plays to his strengths more than being President Donald Trump’s antagonist. He has sought $2.2 trillion in the latest aid talks and ridiculed the Republican plan as “emaciated.” Schumer is also battling for control of the Senate, outraising his GOP counterparts so far this cycle. But he should watch his back – even Trump predicts an AOC challenge in 2022. 

3. Letitia James

State Attorney General

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Attorney General, Letitia James has received a lot of attention for going after Donald Trump like she promised.
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Attorney General, Letitia James has received a lot of attention for going after Donald Trump like she promised.
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Attorney General, Letitia James has received a lot of attention for going after Donald Trump like she promised.
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Attorney General, Letitia James has received a lot of attention for going after Donald Trump like she promised.
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Attorney General, Letitia James has received a lot of attention for going after Donald Trump like she promised.
Image Credit: 
Portrait by Sean Pressley

Letitia James has circled around Trump, suing his administration 20 times, seeking his tax returns and probing financial fraud at the Trump organization while demanding Eric Trump’s testimony. As the state’s top nonprofit regulator, she has cracked down on a foundation purporting to represent the Black Lives Matter movement and sought to dissolve the NRA. She recently empaneled a grand jury in her investigation into Daniel Prude’s death.

4. Nydia Velázquez

Congress Member

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Nydia Valazquez
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Nydia Valazquez
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Nydia Valazquez
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Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
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Nydia Valazquez
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Portrait by Celeste Sloman

Nydia Velázquez has been among the staunchest immigration advocates in the Trump era, authoring legislation preventing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from identifying as local police and protecting Temporary Protected Status recipients from deportation last summer. But COVID-19 sidelined the veteran lawmaker just after the House finished a $2.2 trillion stimulus package. Once recovered, Velázquez helped small businesses receive federal aid, scrutinized contractors, and worked to help Puerto Rico determine its future.

5. Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President

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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
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Sean Pressley

The 2021 mayoral race is shaping up to be a two-person contest between Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Adams, a former cop, has called for an investigation into a policing slowdown as shootings rose and rallied against the mayor’s proposal to lay off 22,000 city workers. Adams raised eyebrows in January when he said newer Brooklynites should “go back to Ohio” and then doubled down on protecting longtime residents from gentrification.

6. Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate

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New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has stepped up in a big way during New York City's Black Lives Matter protests.
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New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has stepped up in a big way during New York City's Black Lives Matter protests.
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New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has stepped up in a big way during New York City's Black Lives Matter protests.
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New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has stepped up in a big way during New York City's Black Lives Matter protests.
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New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has stepped up in a big way during New York City's Black Lives Matter protests.
Image Credit: 
Sean Pressley

Flatbush pol Jumaane Williams has never been afraid to mix it up while engaging in civil disobedience, so it’s no surprise he has led calls to protect Black lives. He has been omnipresent during this summer of unrest, where he led marches, defied the overnight curfew, and spoke at a massive George Floyd memorial service. Calls have intensified for Williams to run for mayor, but he is declining for now. 

7. Eric Gonzalez

Brooklyn District Attorney

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Eric Gonzalez
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Eric Gonzalez
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Sean Pressley

Eric Gonzalez, is known as the city’s most progressive prosecutor for supporting policies like a pretrial diversion program allowing offenders to avoid prosecution for minor crimes by taking art classes. Gonzalez had qualms with the legislature’s bail reform laws – his office had high turnover as a result of the new rules – and preferred eliminating cash bail entirely while giving judges more jurisdiction over cases. When COVID-19 arrived, he stopped prosecuting low-level offenses.

8. Rodneyse Bichotte

Assembly Member

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New Brooklyn Boss, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte.
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New Brooklyn Boss, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte.
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New Brooklyn Boss, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte.
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New Brooklyn Boss, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte.
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New Brooklyn Boss, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte.
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Guerin Blask

The selection of Rodneyse Bichotte to replace the retiring Frank Seddio as the next Brooklyn Democratic Party leader was historic. Bichotte is the first Black woman to lead a city’s county committee, representing a generational sea change in Brooklyn politics. She’s sought to diversify the party’s membership and change party rules allowing trans and nonbinary people to serve in leadership, and has welcomed the next wave of leaders to the party.

9. Yvette Clarke

Congress Member

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Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
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Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
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Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
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Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
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Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
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lev radin/Shutterstock

Yvette Clarke narrowly avoided losing her seat in a primary two years ago but strengthened her ties to her district and introduced legislation banning facial recognition technology in public housing. She faced a rematch with Adem Bunkeddeko and three other candidates – and outlasted them all in the June primary with 54% of the vote. Clarke is busy securing as much congressional pandemic aid for the city as possible.

10. Zellnor Myrie

State Senator

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Zellnor Myrie
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Zellnor Myrie
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Zellnor Myrie
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Zellnor Myrie
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Celeste Sloman

Zellnor Myrie, who once worked as a pro bono attorney combating police brutality, saw the abuse up close when he was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed at a peaceful demonstration at Barclays Plaza on May 29. The NYPD’s response to the George Floyd protests and Myrie’s treatment received widespread attention and engendered sympathy for the Black Lives Matter movement. Myrie encouraged activists to keep demonstrating and introduced a bill to end qualified immunity.

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