Public Advocate Letitia James is a tireless champion for working families and the most vulnerable New Yorkers. In 2013, she made history as the first woman of color elected to citywide office in New York City. Throughout her lifelong commitment to public service, she has distinguished herself as an advocate and leader on some of the most pressing issues of our time. She has fought for tenant’s rights and community renewal and spent much of her career advocating for children and families.
While a City Council Member, James 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. In her first term as Public Advocate, she defended children in foster care who were the victims of irreparable harm, protected children with disabilities who were forced to ride on dangerously hot school buses, and fought to ensure that all students have the access to a high quality education. James led the fight for universal free school lunch for all public school students, which was implemented fall 2017. She also championed paid family leave and raising the wage.
James has used her platform to address the feminization of poverty. In 2016, James introduced landmark legislation to ban questions about salary history from the employment process to end gender wage discrimination, and on October 31, 2017, New York City became the first municipality in the nation to enforce a salary history ban.
A lawyer by training, Letitia James previously served as an Assistant Attorney General and a public defender.