UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — An Upper East Side lawmaker that serves as the co-chair in the City Council Progressive Caucus will run for Borough President in the 2021 election.
City Councilmember Ben Kallos announced his bid Wednesday to replace the term-limited Borough President Gale Brewer, touting a record as a reformer in the City Council and several labor union endorsements. Kallos also cited the fact that he was one of the first members of the City Council to refuse campaign contributions from the real estate industry.
"Without the corrupting influence of big money from real estate I've been free to stand up for residents alongside our Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and win. We've made so much progress and the stakes have never been higher, we can't afford to lose momentum. Manhattan's next Borough President must continue the work of Gale Brewer, standing up to the Mayor and real estate, in favor of communities," Kallos said in his announcement.
Kallos has represented the City Council's Fifth District — which spans much of the Upper East side, Roosevelt Island and small portions of East Harlem and Midtown East — since 2014. Since taking office, Kallos has fought for improvements in his district such as the installation of new trash cans on every corner and the addition of more than 1,000 Pre-K seats. Kallos has also fought for reforms in the City Council, authoring laws to limit outside income for councilmembers and eliminate compensation for leadership and committee posts.
"Manhattan deserves a Borough President focused on each and every block in the borough. We've always opened our office to the community and will continue to do so, empowering residents to use the powers of our office to pass laws, vote on how to spend money, and to plan for the future of our communities," Kallos said in a statement.
Current Borough President Gale Brewer will be forced to leave the office in 2021 due to term limits. Kallos will also be facing term limits for his City Council seat. In 2013, Kallos upset former State Assemblymember Micah Kellner during a Democratic primary where it was revealed Kellner had sexually harassed staff members.
Seven labor unions endorsed Kallos on the day of his campaign launch, including: Communications Workers of America Local 1101, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12, New York Professional Nurses Union, Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA), Steamfitters Local 638, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.