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Robert Jackson (New York politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson (New York).jpg
Jackson in 2018
Member of the New York Senate from the 31st District
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
Preceded byMarisol Alcantara
Member of the New York City Council from the 7th District
In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2013
Preceded byStanley Michels
Succeeded byMark D. Levine
Personal details
Born (1950-12-18) December 18, 1950 (age 69)
New York City, New York, USA
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Faika Jackson
ResidenceNew York City, New York, USA
Alma materSUNY New Paltz

Robert Jackson (born December 18, 1950) is an American politician in New York City. A member of the Democratic Party, he is the Senator for the New York State Senate's 31st District on the West Side of Manhattan. He previously served in the New York City Council from 2002 to 2013, representing the 7th District in Manhattan. He is the first Muslim New York State Senator.[1]

Early life and education

Robert Jackson was born in Harlem, the son of Zelma Jackson and Chinese immigrant Eddie Chu.[2] He grew up in Manhattan and The Bronx, attending P.S.86 in Washington Heights, and P.S. 146, Junior High School 120, and Benjamin Franklin High School in The Bronx. As a child, he sold newspapers. Jackson graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1975. After college, he worked for the New York State Department of Labor and the Public Employees Federation, a labor union.[2] In 1986, he was elected to New York City Community School Board 6.

Campaign for Fiscal Equity

In 1992, Jackson was serving as the elected president of Community School Board 6. He sued the state, frustrated and accusing the state of under-funding New York City public schools.[3] Jackson sought assistance from the school board's attorney, Michael A. Rebell; they founded the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and in 1993 filed suit in CFE v. State of New York.[4][5] The lawsuit argued that the State of New York's method of allocating funds for public education did not provide adequately for children in New York City, and therefore violated the New York State Constitution and the federal Civil Rights Act.

On June 26, 2003, the New York State Court of Appeals (the state's highest court) ruled in favor of plaintiffs, and gave the State until July 30, 2004 to implement changes.[6] However, lawmakers could not agree on a formula. The Court of Appeals appointed a special panel to address the problem, and in 2005, the panel proposed that NY City schools receive an extra $5.6 billion per year. Justice Leland DeGrasse accepted that solution, and in 2007, the Legislature established the Foundation Aid Formula to distribute the requisite funds, phased in over a period of four years.[7][8] Because of the subsequent fiscal crisis, funding was frozen during 2009-2012. Full funding has yet to be restored, a situation Jackson protested both in Albany and New York City.[9][10][11][12]

New York City Council

Robert Jackson was elected to the New York City Council's 7th district in 2001 as a Democrat.[13] Before it was redistricted in 2013, the district included portions of the neighborhoods Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. He served parts of his three terms as Education Committee Chair and Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus with Council Member Fernando Cabrera. Jackson was twice re-elected before being term-limited in 2013.[14][15]

Jackson is Muslim, and was the only Muslim City Council member during his tenure.[16]

2013 Manhattan Borough President campaign

Jackson announced in late January 2013 that he was running in the Democratic Primary for Manhattan Borough President.[17] Jackson highlighted the Campaign for Fiscal Equity as a significant accomplishment in at least five campaigns since he initially ran, and won a seat on, the New York City Council in 2001,[18][19] and his literature stated Jackson "brought home billions of additional dollars each year to improve our public schools," though the Campaign for Fiscal Equity was called a failure by the Village Voice.[20]

Jackson, who was the only male or black candidate in the race, received the endorsement of former mayor David Dinkins, New York City's first Black mayor, prior to announcing.[21] His opponents in the Democratic Primary were former city council members Jessica Lappin and Gale Brewer, as well as small business owner and former Chair of Community Board 1, Julie Menin. Jackson lost the Democratic Primary election to Brewer, coming in third place with 19% of the vote, compared to Brewer's 40% and Lappin's 25%.

New York State Senate

2014 campaign

In 2014, Jackson for ran for the New York State Senate in the 31st State Senate district against the incumbent, Adriano Espaillat. In the September 2014 Democratic primary election, he lost with roughly 43% of the vote to Espaillat's 50%, and Luis Tejada's 7%, in a race described by the New York Daily News as "his second shot at a campaign in less than a year."[22][23] Jackson's campaign manager, Michael Oliva, said that there were no specific plans moving forward, and quoted Jackson as saying he's "not going to deal with this bullshit for another two years."[24]

2016 campaign

In 2016, Espaillat ran for U.S. House of Representatives to replace retiring long-term Congressman Charlie Rangel of Harlem; Jackson ran for Espaillat's seat in State Senate District 31 once again.[25] In a tight primary race, Jackson came in 3rd place with 30% of the vote, losing to District Leader Marisol Alcantara, Espaillat's chosen successor, with 33% of the vote, and Bloomberg administration alumnus Micah Lasher with 31% of the vote, while again defeating Luis Tejada with 5% of the vote.[26][27][28]

2018 campaign

In 2018, Jackson ran for State Senate District 31 for the third time. In the September 2018 Democratic primary election, he won with 56% of the vote, defeating Alcantara, the incumbent, with 39% of the vote, Tirso Pina with 4% of the vote and Thomas Leon with 1% of the vote.[29][30][31][32] Jackson's victory was attributed to backlash against Alcantara, who in the State Senate had joined the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democratic senators who allied themselves with the Senate Republican Conference that controlled the chamber.[33] Jackson had the support of 2016 rival Micah Lasher.

In November 2018, Jackson easily won the general election in the heavily Democratic district with 89% of the vote, becoming the first Muslim state senator.[1][34][35][36] In the Senate, Jackson is serving as Chairman of Committee on Cities.


Bill Thompson heckling

On February 1, 2013 a Democratic mayoral forum was held in Washington Heights. Elected officials repeatedly neglected to acknowledge City Councilman Robert Jackson, who represented the area.[37] Finally, when black mayoral candidate Bill Thompson greeted State Senator A. Espaillat, Assemblywoman G. Rosa, and Councilman Y. Rodriguez, Mr. Jackson called out, "I'm not part of the Northern Manhattan team? ... Can you see? Hello? Am I black enough for you, brother?"[38] Thompson responded that he had no intention of ignoring Jackson, and referred to him as a "hero" for his fight for NY City schools.[39]

Fairway Market lawsuit

In February 2013 Jackson, and his wife Faika Jackson, sued Fairway Market and New York City. The Jacksons claimed Faika tripped over a downed stop sign in front of the Harlem location of the market in April 2010.[40] In July 2014, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Margaret Chan admonished the Jacksons for "non-compliance with Fairway's repeated discovery demands," saying they had failed to provide medical records related to Faika's stop sign tumble. Jackson also joined his wife's lawsuit as a co-plaintiff, writing that his wife's injuries prevented her from providing "services, society and companionship."[41]

Personal life

Jackson has three daughters. He met his wife, Faika Jackson, while in college.[2] He currently lives with his family in Washington Heights.[42]


  1. ^ a b Laird, Jordan. "State candidates that made history". City & State New York. City and State NY, LLC. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Hartocollis, Anemona. "THE RULING ON THE SCHOOLS: THE PLAINTIFF; Eight Years and a Lawsuit Later, Better News to Report". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Purnick, Joyce (January 15, 2001). "". metro-matters-indictment-of-politics-of-education. Retrieved September 12, 2016 – via
  5. ^ Purnick, Joyce (January 15, 2001). "Metro Matters; Indictment Of Politics Of Education". Retrieved May 2, 2017 – via
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 29, 2006. Retrieved July 1, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Fertig, Beth (February 14, 2006). "". 83315-campaign-for-fiscal-equity-faqs. Retrieved September 12, 2016 – via
  8. ^ "Campaign for Fiscal Equity: FAQs". Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "campaigns/campaign-for-fiscal-equity/". Alliance for Quality Education of New York. 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Krengel, Sharon (April 14, 2015). "new-york/new-york-state-budget-falls-well-short-of-constitutional-obligation". Education Law Center. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Thoroddsson, Bjarni (February 21, 2011). "education-advocates-decry-proposed-education-cuts". Citizen Action of New York. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  12. ^ Clark, Roger (March 3, 2016). "city-rallies-draw-attention-to-public-school-funding-gap". Time Warner Cable NY1 News. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  13. ^ "District 7 West Harlem/Washington Heights/Inwood". Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  14. ^ "Former Councilman Robert Jackson Announces State Senate Run". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Katz, Celeste (December 18, 2010). "term-limits-scorecard-david-greenfield-blog-entry-1". Retrieved September 12, 2016 – via
  16. ^ "Robert Jackson, the only Muslim council member, is OK with NYPD surveillance, conditionally". Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "Jackson Launches Campaign". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  18. ^ New York City Council District 7"
  19. ^ About Robert"[permanent dead link] 11, 2014
  20. ^ The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit Was the Best Hope for City Schools. It Failed"
  21. ^ "David Dinkins backing Robert Jackson". Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  22. ^ "New York Primary Election Results". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  23. ^ ""Bring it on, mi hermano!" Former Harlem City Councilman Robert Jackson will run for Espaillat's state Senate seat". Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "Espaillat re-elected to State Senate in slight majority over Jackson".
  25. ^ "In Race to Replace Espaillat, Ramifications for Senate Control, His Power, and More". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  26. ^ "New York Primary Election Results". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  27. ^ ""NYS Board of Elections Primary for State Senator Election Returns September 13, 2016"" (PDF). Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "Ex-NYC Councilman eyes run for Espaillat seat".
  29. ^ "New York Primary Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  30. ^ "Robert Jackson Announces Bid to Unseat State Sen. Marisol Alcantara". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on June 26, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  31. ^ Brendan Krisel (September 13, 2018). "NY 31st State Senate Results: Robert Jackson Declared Winner". Patch. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  32. ^ "New York State Unofficial Election Night Results". New York State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  33. ^ Vivian Wang (September 13, 2018). "Democratic Insurgents Topple 6 New York Senate Incumbents". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  34. ^ "New York Election Results". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  35. ^ Krisel, Brendan. "NY 31st State Senate Results: Robert Jackson Declared Winner". Patch. Patch Media. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  36. ^ @NY31Alcantara (September 14, 2018). "Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that came out to support my campaign. Congratulations to our new State Senator Robert Jackson. As a community, we must come together & work with our new elected official to ensure our community continues to be well represented" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  37. ^ "Christine Quinn Downplays Bloomberg Link at Tumultuous Mayoral Forum". Archived from the original on November 2, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  38. ^ "Jackson, to Thompson: 'Can you see? Hello? Am I black enough for you, brother?'". Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  39. ^ "Bill Thompson Speaks at Northern Manhattan Mayoral Forum". Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  40. ^ "Councilman Robert Jackson Sues City After Wife's Fall at Fairway". Archived from the original on November 2, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  41. ^ "Judge slams Robert Jackson, wife for omissions in lawsuit". Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  42. ^ Brown, Nicole. "New York State Senate: New faces head to Albany to represent the 5 boroughs". AM New York. Newsday. Retrieved November 11, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 November 2019, at 19:02
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