A former aide on the President and Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' campaign Troy Blackwell has announced his candidacy for the New York Council District 15 in the Bronx.
The district 15 special election which is set for March 23, 2021 was necessitated by the election of Ritchie Torres to the US's 15th Congressional District.
In a statement Monday, Blackwell, who worked in the former President Barack Obama White House, has deep experience working on social issues and building diverse coalitions.
Blackwell's previous experience includes working on criminal justice cases for racial justice organization Color of Change, My Brother’s Keeper, and fighting for affordable housing.
Blackwell is a Bronx native, a product of public housing, and New York City public schools. Growing up in a blended family with Puerto-Rican and West African roots, Blackwell credits his family and largely immigrant community as the inspiration to run for office. His campaign policies focus on housing justice, education, and criminal justice reform.
Given there were over 1,200 newly reported COVID-19 cases and nine deaths in the Bronx this past week, Blackwell used MLK Day to focus on residents recovering from COVID-19 at St. Barnabas Hospital.
Blackwell convened a small group of community members to support COVID-19 patients and their families. This was an intentional act of service he deems as necessary given total COVID-related cases have reached over 99,000 within the borough.
"On this MLK Day of Service, I think about the legacy Dr. King set forth by acknowledging that health disparities within our society are the most callous and inhumane of all injustices," said Blackwell.
"Health equity is one of the most pressing issues of our time. As COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to our communities, we must protect and advocate for our most vulnerable and marginalized populations."
Blackwell supports expanding the City's paid sick day requirement to cover gig workers, expanding homeless youth services in district 15, and ensuring that New York Health and Hospitals can keep its doors open to meet the challenges of 21st-century healthcare.
Blackwell will join four other candidates that have so far declared their inatentions to succeed Torres and these include: Ischia Bravo, district manager for the Bronx’s Community Board 7; Elisa Crespo, an education liaison for Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Oswald Feliz, a district leader and housing lawyer; and, Julian Sepúlveda, who works in intergovernmental affairs for the city’s Department of Education.