The hottest contest in New York City isn’t the New York City Housing Lottery. Rather, New York’s “hottest” contest, according to the New York Times, is this year’s race for the elected position of Public Advocate. This year, the city is holding its first non-partisan election, and candidates are campaigning under their own personal party names, running on issues that matter to them. With 17 candidates in the race, the competition feels steep. However, for candidate and mother, Dawn Smalls, the race is exciting!
“I was really driven to run by the times that we’re in, which I truly believe that we’re living in a time where our collective children will ask, ‘Where were you and what did you do?’ ” attorney and public advocate candidate, Dawn Smalls says. “I believe that I’m the most qualified person, male or female in this race, and I’m offering myself up to be able to serve the city and serve the people of New York,” Smalls continues, “I just want to underscore the fact that there are no women currently in the city’s leadership and so, I think the fact that I’m a mom only adds to that, but do think it’s critically important to elect a woman in this role.”
As the single, “independent check” on New York City’s mayor, government and council, the job of the Public Advocate is to make sure that the government “works,” Smalls explains.
With her top three platform issues being the subway, affordable housing, and homelessness, Smalls’ party name, “No More Delays,” is an appropriate slogan. It not only conveys her concern for the issues close to many city dweller’s hearts, but they are issue close to hers as well.
Running on the promise that she will break through bureaucracy and get results for New Yorkers, “There would never be a situation again where the governor took 5 million dollars from the MTA to subsidize some upstate ski resort… somebody would be watching and reporting to the public about our progress and what we need to do to move the ball forward,” Small says.
When Smalls isn’t campaigning or advocating for undocumented immigrants or victims of financial crime, she’s spending time with her three kids: 3, 5, and 7 years old. As a mom, Smalls’ mornings are filled with packed lunches and walks to the bus stop before she even heads to the office in the morning. However, she admits she couldn’t do it without help.
“Just as a philosophy and a working mom, I do get help with three different kids. I wouldn’t be able to do anything if I didn’t have help. That’s a very critical component of making sure that my daughter can go to ballet and my son can go to Taekwondo. I know that they’re still having fun and doing everything that they enjoy… but I can still do what I need to do at work.” Smalls says.
As a first time candidate and being the only mother and woman attorney running, Smalls would bring a unique perspective to this role and shed light on current issues.
“I’m coming from the perspective of, how do I get stuff done? That’s who I bring to the table and how I approach problems,” Smalls says.
As she prepares for the election on Feb. 26, Smalls believes that being a mother only adds to her candidacy and the issues that many New Yorkers face daily, Smalls explains. Whether the issue be commuting on the Subway or the abundance of homeless women and children living in the city, Smalls feels the urgency of these issues intimately herself.
Living in downtown Manhattan with her own family, and her mother and brothers living in other neighborhoods of New York City, when asked how her family felt about her running for Public Advocate she exclaimed, “everybody’s excited!”
“My 7-year-old pretty much wants daily updates on how I’m doing and any numbers I can share with her,” Smalls says. “My kids are really excited, my husband is really excited about this campaign, and I’m really excited to be able to do it as a family.” With with the support of her family and community, this power woman will ultimately be unstoppable. With great empathy and concern for fellow New Yorkers, she will bring a breath of fresh air to our city.
To learn more about Dawn Smalls, visit dawnfornewyork.com!