Here Are the New York City Council District 9 Candidates Running In the June 27 Primary

Learn about the candidates in the New York City Council District 9 race and the issues they hope to address Uptown.

Neighbors Team
June 05, 2023

The June 27 primary election is fast approaching and there are several seats up for election. In Upper Manhattan, all eyes will be on the candidates vying for the New York City Council District 9 seat, which represents Central Harlem and parts of Morningside Heights, Upper West Side, and East Harlem. From affordable housing to cultivating economic opportunity, there are an array of local hot-button issues on the ballot. While incumbent Kristin Richardson Jordan will be on the ballot, she has dropped out of the race. The three remaining candidates bring a diversity of experiences and distinct visions for the future of the Harlem district.

Ahead of the highly anticipated election, we’ve gathered key information about New York City's 9th City Council district candidates that you should know before heading to the polls.   

Al Taylor

Assemblyman Al Taylor

Harlem Assemblyman Al Taylor has led transformative work around community advocacy in Upper Manhattan for over two decades. Before being elected to represent the 71st Assembly District of Upper Manhattan in 2017, Taylor served as Chief of Staff to former Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell, Jr. and has been a long-time grassroots community organizer. The U.S. Army veteran and minister launched his career in public service after graduating from Lehman College. In 2008, he created Man Up! In Harlem to address the uptick of gun violence in Upper Manhattan, using the program to build bridges between residents and community leaders through prayer walks. The program has since served as a model for other violence reduction efforts throughout Upper Manhattan. Taylor has also supported efforts to bring more funding to schools, improve the MTA, and support NYCHA building repairs. 

"We need a new vision for our city and our community – a vision of renewal, equity, and peace," reads a statement on Taylor's site. "We have endured dark times for the past few years, and we face great challenges – challenges in affordability, in opportunity, and in safety. But in these difficult times, I have faith and I believe in Harlem; I believe in our community and our ability to overcome and to grow stronger. In order to do that, we need to make sure that our government is working for us, hearing our voices, meeting our needs. That is why I am running for city council."

Key Issues:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Economic Opportunity
  • Educational Opportunity
  • Community Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Youth Engagement

Inez Dickens

Assemblymember Inez Dickens

Harlem Assemblywoman Inez Dickens’ civic engagement roots run deep. She’s the daughter of the late New York State Assemblyman Lloyd E. Dickens and her late uncle Thomas K. Dickens served as a NYS Assemblyman and state Supreme Court Justice. Dickens has carved her own path in politics. In 1990, she was elected to serve in office as a state committeewoman and district leader. In 2006, she was elected council member for the New York City's 9th Council District and hit a historic milestone as the first Black woman in New York City Council’s history to be appointed to serve as deputy majority leader and chair of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions. In 2017, Dickens was elected to represent the 70th Assembly District in the New York State Legislature, where she worked on an array of initiatives around economic empowerment, advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community, affordable housing, public safety, and COVID-19 protections.

“We need someone who has been there. Who already has maintained the connections, who really understands what has to be done, who also has the ability to negotiate and navigate," she said in a statement along her campaign trail, according to AMNY.

Key Issues:

  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Affordable Housing
  • Equal Rights for LGBTQIA+
  • Education
  • Support for the Elderly
  • Small Business Empowerment

Yusef Salaam

Activist Yusef Salaam

Harlem native Yusef Salaam’s passion for political advocacy is a byproduct of his own harrowing experiences within a flawed criminal justice system. Salaam—a member of the Exonerated Five—has used his activism efforts as an avenue to spread awareness about mass incarceration and advocate for the abolishment of juvenile solitary confinement and capital punishment. He co-founded the nonprofit Justice 4 The Wrongfully Incarcerated, which has a mission rooted in cultivating and lobbying for legislation that provides resources and support for wrongly incarcerated individuals and their families. Salaam has also been a member of the Frederick E. Samuel Community Democratic Club for 25 years.

“We believe that by uniting our community and speaking to the systemic issues we face each day, we can energize and activate voters who are eager for change,” Salaam wrote in a statement on his campaign site. “Working-class voters, voters of color, and those who are disenchanted with the political process are central to our campaign. As a victim of a broken criminal justice system, I understand the challenges faced by those who are marginalized and neglected by the powers that be. I believe that by speaking up and advocating for those in need, I can inspire and mobilize a new generation of voters who are passionate about creating a better future for all New Yorkers.”

Key Issues:

  • Housing Justice
  • Economic Justice
  • Human Infrastructure
  • Justice and Safety
  • Environmental Justice

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