Letitia James is the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the second highest ranking elected office in the City. As Public Advocate, she serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over City agencies, and investigates complaints about City services.
Public Advocate James made history in 2014 by becoming the first woman of color to hold citywide office in New York City.
Public Advocate James is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform, and led the push for police body-worn cameras in the NYPD. She was one of the first to call for special prosecutors to be used in all cases of police misconduct. Public Advocate James is a leader in the fight to reform the grand jury process.
Public Advocate James has a long history as an advocate for children and families. Whether defending children in foster care who were the victims of irreparable harm, protecting children with disabilities who were forced to ride on dangerously hot school buses, or ensuring that our students have the best quality education they deserve, she has never backed down from doing what is right for our children. She is a leading voice in the fight for universal free lunch for public school students and for comprehensive reform of the system to track education plans for students with disabilities. She is also a strong advocate for paid family leave, raising the wage, and introduced legislation to ban questions about salary history from the employment process to end gender wage discrimination.
Prior to being elected Public Advocate, Letitia James served as a City Council Member from 2004 to 2013. As a City Council Member, she fought for Paid Sick Leave, and passed the Safe Housing Act, which ensured that thousands of families in rental buildings receive prompt and full repairs to their apartments.
She was an early whistleblower on the Office of Payroll Administration’s CityTime contract, a payroll system that she criticized as being overly costly and difficult to manage in numerous committee hearings. She ultimately passed legislation addressing oversight of high-cost service contracts with the City of New York. As Chair to the Council’s Sanitation Committee, she pushed-through a revolutionary recycling package that included expanding plastic recycling, a new clothing and textile recycling program, and improved public space recycling.
Public Advocate James is a graduate of CUNY's Lehman College and Howard University School of Law. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General, and a public defender. She currently resides in Brooklyn.