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N.Y. State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar Mulls Bid for New York City Comptroller

N.Y. State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar Mulls Bid for New York City Comptroller

  • The move follows several months of discussions with union leaders, business leaders, and fellow elected officials about a potential run for the citywide office.

New York State Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar is mulling a bid for New York City comptroller. The first South Asian woman elected to state office in New York and a close ally of Mayor Eric Adams confirmed to the New York Post and the Gothamist that she has opened an exploratory committee, and is “seriously considering” a campaign for the citywide office, which is currently held by Brad Lander. 

“Government inefficiency is costing lives,” which she believes she can “fix,” the Democratic state lawmaker from Queens told the Gothamist. She filed the paperwork for the committee with the city’s Campaign Finance Board on July 5, she told the publication, adding that it “allows her to raise funds for a potential bid.” 

Speaking to the New York Post, which broke the news about Rajkumar’s potential run, the move, which was first reported by the New York Post, follows several months of discussions with union leaders, business leaders, and fellow elected officials about a potential run. The Gothamist notes that Rajkumar has often appeared and spoken alongside the mayor at press conferences and events, including the announcement of the recent city budget deal.

Citing her reasons for considering a run she said, We have the most expensive health care system in the world, the largest education system in the country and New York City is the largest metropolitan economy on the globe,” Rajkumar told the Post. “And yet hardworking New Yorkers who work 25 hours a day 8 days a week and pay some of the highest taxes in the country are not able to get lifesaving healthcare, quality education, or adequate transportation,” she added. “There is not enough return on investment or government accountability. This government inefficiency is costing lives. I can fix it, and that is why I am exploring a run for New York City Comptroller.”

She told the Gothamist that local residents spoke to her about the “need for an engaged and effective comptroller, who could make positive change across the city.” Rajkumar added that New Yorkers “pay some of the highest taxes in the country, and yet they are still not able to get life-saving health care, quality education or enough return on their investment.”

However, the Post speculates that the comptroller contest “may not happen at all,” if Lander challenges Adams himself in a mayoral primary,” which he reportedly was planning to do.

Rajkumar led a successful effort to make Diwali a state school holiday and to establish New York’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission. She also sponsored a measure incorporating domestic workers — overwhelmingly immigrants of color – into the state’s human rights law.

Rajkumar got her start leading a voting rights campaign to enfranchise fifth-graders. When she got her driver’s license at 17, she drove straight to Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign office to volunteer.  Later, as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Rajkumar led a campus women’s group and tutored low-income Philadelphia women. She earned a degree from Stanford Law School. She won her first case as an attorney, a workplace discrimination suit on behalf of 5,000 women. “I realized that to really make a difference, you need power,” Rajkumar said. “So I went into politics.”

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Her first role was as a lower Manhattan district leader. After three terms, Rajkumar expanded her sphere of influence as then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state director of immigrant affairs, spearheading a first-in-the-nation, $31 million public-private partnership to provide immigrants with legal defense.

The 2025 NYC Democratic primary is scheduled for June 24, with the general election on Nov. 4.

(Top photo: Asemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar Facebook)  

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