Jesse Hamilton

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Jesse Hamilton
Member of the New York Senate from the 20th District
In office
January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2018
Preceded byEric Adams
Succeeded byZellnor Myrie
Personal details
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lorna Hamilton
Alma materIthaca College (B.A.)
Long Island University (M.B.A.)
Seton Hall University (J.D.)
WebsiteOfficial website

Jesse Hamilton is an American lawyer and politician in New York City. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented the New York State Senate's 20th District, including parts of the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Brownsville and East Flatbush from 2015 to 2018. Hamilton is a former member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of Democratic senators who allied themselves with Senate Republicans.[1][2][3][4][5] Hamilton is the Secretary of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, the official organization of the Democratic Party for Brooklyn. He was defeated in the September 2018 Democratic primary election by lawyer Zellnor Myrie.[6][7][8][9]

Early life[edit]

Hamilton was born and raised in the South Bronx. He later moved to Crown Heights, and served on the school board, as president of his block association and as president of the Rosa Parks Independent Democratic Club. He was the Democratic District Leader in the 43rd Assembly District for nearly a decade.[10] He also served as counsel for then-Senator Eric Adams of District 20.[11]


In November 2013, Adams was elected to the office of Brooklyn Borough president, leaving District 20's State Senate seat vacant.[12] On September 9, 2014, Hamilton won the Democratic Party primary election to represent District 20. As there was no Republican Party opponent, Hamilton won the November 2014 general election[13] without opposition.[11]

On Monday, November 7, 2016, Hamilton announced that he would join the Independent Democratic Conference,[14] a group of Democratic senators who caucused with the Senate Republican Conference, allowing the Republicans to control the chamber.[2][5] In January 2017, after joining the IDC, Hamilton was named Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banking - which The New York Times notes earned him a $5,500 raise.[15][16]

In 2017, Hamilton played a key role in passage of legislation to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction for 16- and 17-year-olds, ensuring that they will not be treated as adults under the criminal justice system for misdemeanors and many felonies.[17] The legislation also removes 16 and 17 year olds from Rikers Island by April 1, 2018, to the extent practicable, and by no later than October 1, 2018.[18] The IDC-backed legislation was criticized as a "watered down" version of legislation proposed by Democrats, and because "it still pushes the majority of juveniles through the criminal justice system.[19] "As of 2017, there were 150 minors in Rikers Island.

Hamilton has advocated for an end to broken windows policing and has proposed legislation to decriminalize fare evasion on subways, buses and railroads, which would make fare evasion a civil penalty instead of a criminal penalty.[20]

In 2017, Hamilton and Assemblyman Ortiz passed legislation named "Briana's Law", after 11-year old Briana Ojeda, that requires New York City police officers and state troopers to be retrained in CPR every two years.[21] The legislation was introduced after the death of Briana Ojeda when she suffered a severe asthma attack. A police officer stopped her mother driving the wrong way on a one-way street but the police officer did not know how to perform CPR to save Briana's life.[22]

Hamilton and his IDC colleagues rejoined the Senate Democratic Conference in April 2018.[23][24] Subsequently, the Republican conference stripped Hamilton of his position as Chair of the Banks Committee.[25][26][27]

In the September 13, 2018 Democratic primary, Hamilton was defeated by lawyer Zellnor Myrie.[6][7][9] Hamilton's loss was attributed to long-simmering anger with the former members of the IDC. Due tof New York State's electoral fusion laws allowing candidates to run on multiple ballot lines in an election, Hamilton still appeared in the November 6, 2018 general election as the third-party candidate for the Independence Party of New York and the Women's Equality Party.[28][29][30][31] Myrie won the general election.[32]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ NYSenate (2017-01-09), New York State Senate Session - 01/04/17, retrieved 2018-01-11
  2. ^ a b McKinley, Jesse (May 9, 2017). "For Group of Breakaway Democrats in New York, It Pays to Be No. 2". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  3. ^ Kaplan, Thomas; Hakim, Danny (December 5, 2012). "Coalition Is to Control State Senate as Dissident Democrats Join With Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  4. ^ "Senator Jesse Hamilton". 16 December 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b McKinley, Jesse; Goldmachernov, Shane (November 15, 2017). "Democrats Who Side With the G.O.P. Give Cuomo a 2018 Headache". Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Kathleen Culliton (September 13, 2018). "Zellnor Myrie Wins Crown Heights State Senate Race". Patch. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Vivian Wang (September 13, 2018). "Democratic Insurgents Topple 6 New York Senate Incumbents". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah. "New York Primary Election Results". Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "New York State Unofficial Election Night Results". New York State Board of Elections. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  10. ^ "District Leader Wins Democratic Primary for Eric Adams' Senate Seat". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b Stewart, Nikita (September 5, 2014). "2 Lawyers Are Seeking Senate Seat in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Chan, Melissa; Blau, Reuven; Blain, Glenn (September 10, 2014). "City Democrat facing criminal charges wins state Senate re-election: Brooklyn Sen. John Sampson, a former Democratic majority leader, easily defeated three challengers despite a looming trial on federal embezzlement charges. However Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith, also facing criminal charges, wasn't as lucky". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Jesse Hamilton promises to join Senate's IDC". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Hamilton named chairman of State Senate Banks Committee - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  16. ^ McKinley, Jesse (May 9, 2017). "For Group of Breakaway Democrats in New York, It Pays to Be No. 2". New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "State Lawmakers Make New Push to Raise the Age of Criminal Liability from 16 to 18". Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Hamilton, IDC Demand City Comply With 'Raise The Age' Measure". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  19. ^ "IDC claims victory with Raise the Age but mainline Democrats disagree".
  20. ^ "Hamilton says turnstile jumping shouldn't be crime - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Family Of Girl Who Died After Asthma Attack Says 'Briana's Law' Will Save Lives". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Officials call on Cuomo to sign bill that requires NYPD officers take CPR training every 2 years". 10 August 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  23. ^ Wang, Vivian (April 16, 2018). "As Session Resumes, a Democratic Truce in Albany Seems Uneasy". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  24. ^ Spector, Joseph (April 16, 2018). "After seven years, it's all over for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference". Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  25. ^ Kirstan Conley (April 7, 2018). "Rebel state senators who rejoined Democrats stripped of committee chairs". The New York Post. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  26. ^ David Lombardo; Rachel Silberstein (April 6, 2018). "Ex-IDC senators stripped of committee posts". Albany Times-Union. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  27. ^ Reisman, Nick (April 6, 2018). "IDC Lawmakers Lose Committee Posts". New York State of Politics. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  28. ^ Silberstein, Rachel (September 20, 2018). "Not all of New York's defeated ex-IDC members have conceded". Times Union. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  29. ^ Susan Arbetter [@sarbetter] (September 14, 2018). "Here's a corrected rundown of the party lines that former IDCers' who lost their Democratic primaries are still on: Klein: Ind Valesky: Ind; WEP Peralta: Ind; Reform; WEP Hamilton: Ind; WEP Alcantara: Ind Avella: Ind; WEP" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  30. ^ Mahoney, Bill (September 17, 2018). "Life after defeat? Questions remain about plans for Democratic primary losers". Politico. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  31. ^ Lewis, Rebecca C. (September 14, 2018). "Defeated ex-IDC members have yet to concede". City & State NY. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  32. ^ a_tu (6 November 2018). "State Senate general election results 2018". CSNY.
Political offices
Preceded by
Eric Adams
New York State Senate, 20th District
Succeeded by
Zellnor Myrie