Robert Jackson (politician)

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Robert Jackson
Former member of the New York City Council from the previously configured 7th District
In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2013
Preceded by Stanley Michels
Succeeded by Mark D. Levine
Personal details
Born New York City, New York, USA
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence New York City, New York, USA
Alma mater SUNY New Paltz
Profession Perennial Candidate

Robert Jackson was a member of the New York City Council, and represented the 7th District in Manhattan. Currently he is a perennial candidate in northern Manhattan.

Early Life[edit]

Robert Jackson graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1975. In the early 1990s Jackson was employed by the Public Employees Federation, a labor union. He was also the president of the Parents' Association for Community School Board 6.

In 1993 he was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, of which he was a co-founder. The lawsuit argued that the State of New York's method of allocating funds for public education did not provide adequately for children in New York City, and therefore violated the New York State Constitution and the federal Civil Rights Act. On June 26, 2003, the New York State Court of Appeals (the state's highest court) ruled in favor of plaintiffs, and gave the State until July 30, 2004 to implement changes. [1]

Robert Jackson is Muslim.[1]

City Council[edit]

Robert Jackson was elected to the New York City Council, in the 7th district, in 2001.[2] Before it was redistricted in 2013, the district included portions of the neighborhoods Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. He served parts of his three terms as Education Committee Chair and Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus with Council Member Fernando Cabrera. Jackson, first elected in 2001, is a Democrat. He was term limited in 2013, and succeeded by Mark D. Levine. Jackson is currently unemployed.

Perennial Candidate[edit]

2013 Manhattan Borough President Campaign[edit]

Jackson announced in late January 2013 that he was running in the Democratic Primary for Manhattan Borough President.[3] Jackson, the only male or black candidate to announce, received the endorsement of former mayor David Dinkins prior to announcing.[4] His opponents in the Democratic Primary were former city council members Jessica Lappin and Gale Brewer, as well as small business owner and former Chair of Community Board 1, Julie Menin. Jackson lost the Democratic Primary election to Gale Brewer, coming in third place with 19% of the vote, compared to Brewer's 40% and Lappin's 25%.

2014 New York State Senate Campaign[edit]

Jackson ran for New York State Senate in the 31st State Senate district against the incumbent, Adriano Espaillat.[5] On election night, after learning of his loss, he reflected by saying he would not be "going to deal with this bullshit for another two years."[6]


Campaign for Fiscal Equity[edit]

Robert Jackson's 2013 campaign literature stated Jackson "brought home billions of additional dollars each year to improve our public schools."
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity was called a failure by the Village Voice.[7]

Robert Jackson has highlighted the Campaign for Fiscal Equity as a significant accomplishment in at least five campaigns since he initially ran, and won a seat on, the New York City Council in 2001.[8][9]

Recent years of campaigning have seen language in his literature referring to the "billions" he has brought to New York City Schools from the State of New York. In 2013 Jackson's campaign literature stated he had "brought home billions of additional dollars each year to improve our public schools." In 2014 his website stated "he walked 150 miles to Albany to highlight the cause and won a court judgment that awarded $16 billion for NYC schools."[10]

However, the Village Voice has labeled the Campaign for Fiscal Equity as a "failure."[11] One frustrated New York City parent, Leonie Haimson, was quoted as saying:

"Originally, the attorneys, in their wisdom, decided that there would be no controls over that money in any real sense—they had an idea that accountability meant meetings with the chancellor and public hearings, and all the rest. But public hearings alone don't have much force with these guys—they just ignore them.

"It should not have been bait and switch, which is what it ended up being."

In a 2013 "exit interview," as he was leaving office due to term limits, Robert Jackson was asked by Emmanuel Felton of The New York World, "What's going on with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity?" Jackson initially answered, "It's still around and we are monitoring that."[12]

As of 2015 the State of New York has not allocated New York City with money it is owed as a result of the C.F.E. lawsuit. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, union leaders, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, and other education non-profit leaders and activists have called on New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo to follow through on the state's obligation to provide New York City schools with $2.6 billion this budget season.[13]

Bill Thompson Heckling[edit]

On February 1st, 2013 during a Democratic mayoral debate, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson was heckled by Jackson.[14] Jackson shouted, in a room full of hundreds of people, "Am I black enough for you, brother?" when he incorrectly thought that Bill Thompson had ignored him during the opening moments of a time limited candidate speech.[15] Thompson politely corrected Jackson, acknowledged him, and continued his speech.[16]

Fairway Market Law Suit[edit]

In February 2013 Jackson, and his wife Faika Jackson, sued Fairway Market and New York City. The Jacksons claimed Faika tripped over a downed stop sign in front of the Harlem location of the market in April, 2010.[17] In July, 2014 more details of the 2013 lawsuit were uncovered. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Margaret Chan admonished the Jacksons for "non-compliance with Fairway's repeated discovery demands." The Jacksons had failed to provide evidence on Faika's stop sign tumble. It was also revealed that Robert Jackson said he joined his wife's lawsuit as a co-plaintiff due to the fact that his wife's injuries prevented her from providing "services, society and companionship."[18]

Dominican Republic[edit]

In August 2013 it was revealed that Jackson had travelled to the Dominican Republic with Friends for Lead Free Children. Stephen Null, director of the organization, joined Jackson on the trip after Null had plead guilty to possession of child pornography in 2002.[19]


  1. ^ Robert Jackson, the only Muslim council member, is OK with NYPD surveillance, conditionally
  2. ^ District 7 West Harlem/Washington Heights/Inwood
  3. ^ "Jackson Launches Campaign". Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  4. ^ "David Dinkins backing Robert Jackson". Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  5. ^ ""Bring it on, mi hermano!" Former Harlem City Councilman Robert Jackson will run for Espaillat’s state Senate seat". Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  6. ^ "Espaillat re-elected to State Senate in slight majority over Jackson". 
  7. ^ The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit Was the Best Hope for City Schools. It Failed"
  8. ^ New York City Council District 7"
  9. ^ About Robert" 11, 2014
  10. ^ About Robert" 11, 2014
  11. ^ The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit Was the Best Hope for City Schools. It Failed"
  12. ^ Exit Interview: Councilmember Robert Jackson" 9, 2015
  13. ^ Charter, union messaging creates New York echo chamber"
  14. ^ "Bill Thompson Speaks at Northern Manhattan Mayoral Forum". Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  15. ^ "Jackson, to Thompson: ‘Can you see? Hello? Am I black enough for you, brother?’". Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  16. ^ "Christine Quinn Downplays Bloomberg Link at Tumultuous Mayoral Forum". Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  17. ^ "Councilman Robert Jackson Sues City After Wife's Fall at Fairway". Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  18. ^ "Judge slams Robert Jackson, wife for omissions in lawsuit". Retrieved 2014-10-20. 
  19. ^ "Report: Manhattan BP Candidate Travels With Convicted Sex Offender". Retrieved 2014-05-14.