Upper West Side City Council candidate and Democratic district leader Marc Landis was endorsed by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Wednesday—one of the first union endorsements of the race.
1199, the largest and fastest-growing union in the city, represents over 350,000 members on the East Coast, according to a statement.
“Marc Landis has a proven record as a progressive activist dedicated to improving our public schools, creating good jobs, advocating for affordable and accessible health care and protecting affordable housing for the working families of New York City,” George Gresham, president of 1199, said in the statement. Gresham stressed Landis’ stature in the party and his pro bono legal work.
Landis said in an interview that the endorsement signals he is “the candidate who can best represent the needs of working families, people who are trying to maintain existence in New York City.” He said his goals, such as maintaining long-term affordable housing and improving healthcare quality and access, are aimed to support the working and middle classes.
Landis said that he has taken practical steps to achieve his vision, including organizing tenants’ associations and joining a coalition of parents to push the Department of Education to open a new high school on the Upper West Side. Members of 1199 have worked with him before and recognize his commitment to these goals, Landis said.
“It’s easy for somebody to be in favor of all these things,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to do the work necessary to bring them about.”
The greatest challenge for his campaign moving forward, Landis said, will be “engaging workers” to appreciate the work and capacities of the City Council.
Daniel Marks Cohen, Morningside Heights State Democratic Committee member, said that while 1199 was a “politically powerful union” with many members on the Upper West Side, other endorsements might be more critical.
“People are not so influenced by unions,” Marks Cohen said. “I think 1199’s endorsement is important for any candidate, but the Times’ endorsement will be more important.”
The highly contested race marks the first time the seat, council District 6, is open in 12 years. Council member Gale Brewer is term-limited this year and running for Manhattan Borough President.
Landis’ opponents are former Community Board 7 chairs Mel Wymore and Helen Rosenthal, local businessman Ken Biberaj, and Democratic State Committeewoman Debra Cooper.
Eva Kalikoff contributed reporting.