Robert Jackson (New York politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson (New York).jpg
Jackson in 2018
Member-elect of the New York Senate from the 31st District
Assuming office
January 3, 2019
SucceedingMarisol Alcantara
Member of the New York City Council from the 7th District
In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2013
Preceded byStanley Michels
Succeeded byMark D. Levine
Personal details
Born (1950-12-18) December 18, 1950 (age 67)
New York City, New York, USA
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Faika Jackson
ResidenceNew York City, New York, USA
Alma materSUNY New Paltz

Robert Jackson (born December 18, 1950) is an American politician in New York City. A member of the Democratic Party, he is Senator-elect for the New York State Senate's 31st District on the West Side of Manhattan. He previously served in the New York City Council from 2002 to 2013, representing the 7th District in Manhattan.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Robert Jackson was born in Harlem, the son of Zelma Jackson and Chinese immigrant Eddie Chu.[1] He grew up in Manahttan and The Bronx, attending P.S.86 in Washington Heights, and P.S. 146, Junior High School 120, and Benjamin Franklin High School in The Bronx. As a child, he sold newspapers. Jackson graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1975. After college, he worked for the New York State Department of Labor and the Public Employees Federation, a labor union.[1] In 1986, he was elected to New York City Community School Board 6.

Campaign for Fiscal Equity[edit]

In 1992, Jackson was serving as the elected president of Community School Board 6. He sued the state, frustrated and accusing the state of under-funding of New York City public schools.[2] Jackson sought assistance from the school board's attorney, Michael A. Rebell; they joined forces to found the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and in 1993 filed suit in CFE v. State of New York.[3][4] 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.[5] However, lawmakers could not agree on a formula. The Court of Appeals appointed a special panel to address the problem, and in 2005, the panel proposed that NY City schools receive an extra $5.6 billion dollars per year. Justice Leland Degrasse accepted that solution, and in 2007, the Legislature established the Foundation Aid Formula to distribute the requisite funds, phased in over a period of four years.[6][7] Because of the subsequent fiscal crisis, funding was frozen during 2009-2012. Full funding has yet to be restored, a situation that Robert Jackson has protested both in Albany and New York City.[8][9][10][11]

New York City Council[edit]

Robert Jackson was elected to the New York City Council's 7th district in 2001 as a Democrat.[12] 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 was twice re-elected before being term-limited in 2013.[13][14]

Jackson is Muslim, and was the only Muslim City Council member during his tenure.[15]

2013 Manhattan Borough President campaign[edit]

Jackson announced in late January 2013 that he was running in the Democratic Primary for Manhattan Borough President.[16] Jackson 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,[17][18] and his literature stated Jackson "brought home billions of additional dollars each year to improve our public schools," though the Campaign for Fiscal Equity was called a failure by the Village Voice.[19]

Jackson, the only male or black candidate in the race, received the endorsement of former mayor David Dinkins, New York City's first Black mayor, prior to announcing.[20] 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 Brewer, coming in third place with 19% of the vote, compared to Brewer's 40% and Lappin's 25%.

New York State Senate[edit]

2014 campaign[edit]

Jackson ran for New York State Senate in the 31st State Senate district against the incumbent, Adriano Espaillat, losing with roughly 43% of the vote to Espaillat's 50%, and Luis Tejada's 7%, in a race described by the New York Daily News as "his second shot at a campaign in less than a year."[21][22] Jackson's campaign manager, Michael Oliva, said that there were no specific plans moving forward, and quoted Jackson as saying he's "not going to deal with this bullshit for another two years."[23]

2016 campaign[edit]

In 2016, Espaillat ran for U.S. House of Representatives to replace retiring long-term Congressman Charlie Rangel of Harlem; Jackson ran for Espaillat's seat in State Senate District 31 once again.[24] In a tight race, Jackson came in 3rd place with 30% of the vote, losing to District Leader Marisol Alcantara, Espaillat's chosen successor, with 33% of the vote, and Bloomberg administration alumnus Micah Lasher with 31% of the vote, while again defeating Luis Tejada with 5% of the vote.[25][26][27]

2018 campaign[edit]

In 2018, Jackson ran for State Senate District 31 for the third time. In the September 2018 primary election, he won with 56% of the vote, defeating Alcantara, the incumbent, with 39% of the vote, Tirso Pina with 4% of the vote and Thomas Leon with 1% of the vote.[28][29][30][31] Jackson's landslide victory was attributed to backlash against Alcantara, who in the State Senate had joined the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democratic senators who allied themselves with the Senate Republican Conference that controlled the chamber.[32] Jackson had the support of 2016 rival Micah Lasher.

In November 2018, Jackson easily won the general election in the heavily-Democratic district with 89% of the vote, defeating Republican Melinda Crump with 6% of the vote and third-party candidate Alcantara with 4% of the vote (although Alcantara had previously suspended her campaign against Jackson).[33][34][35] Jackson is the first Muslim state senator.[36]


Bill Thompson heckling[edit]

On February 1, 2013 a Democratic mayoral forum was held in Washington Heights. Elected officials repeatedly neglected to acknowledge City Councilman Robert Jackson, who represented the area.[37] Finally, when black mayoral candidate Bill Thompson greeted State Senator A. Espaillat, Assemblywoman G. Rosa, and Councilman Y. Rodriguez, Mr. Jackson called out, "I'm not part of the Northern Manhattan team? ... Can you see? Hello? Am I black enough for you, brother?"[38] Thompson responded good-humoredly that he had no intention of ignoring Jackson, and referred to him as a "hero" for his fight for NY City schools.[39]

Fairway Market lawsuit[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.[40] In July, 2014, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Margaret Chan admonished the Jacksons for "non-compliance with Fairway's repeated discovery demands," saying they had failed to provide medical records related to Faika's stop sign tumble. Jackson also joined his wife's lawsuit as a co-plaintiff, writing that his wife's injuries prevented her from providing "services, society and companionship."[41]

Personal Life[edit]

Jackson has three daughters. He met his wife, Faika Jackson, while in college.[1] He currently lives with his family in Washington Heights.[42]


  1. ^ a b c Hartocollis, Anemona. "THE RULING ON THE SCHOOLS: THE PLAINTIFF; Eight Years and a Lawsuit Later, Better News to Report". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Purnick, Joyce (January 15, 2001). "". metro-matters-indictment-of-politics-of-education. Retrieved 2016-09-12 – via
  4. ^ Purnick, Joyce (15 January 2001). "Metro Matters; Indictment Of Politics Of Education". Retrieved 2 May 2017 – via
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  6. ^ Fertig, Beth (February 14, 2006). "". 83315-campaign-for-fiscal-equity-faqs. Retrieved 2016-09-12 – via
  7. ^ "Campaign for Fiscal Equity: FAQs". Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  8. ^ "campaigns/campaign-for-fiscal-equity/". Alliance for Quality Education of New York. 2013. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  9. ^ Krengel, Sharon (April 14, 2015). "new-york/new-york-state-budget-falls-well-short-of-constitutional-obligation". Education Law Center. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  10. ^ Thoroddsson, Bjarni (February 21, 2011). "education-advocates-decry-proposed-education-cuts". Citizen Action of New York. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  11. ^ Clark, Roger (March 3, 2016). "city-rallies-draw-attention-to-public-school-funding-gap". Time Warner Cable NY1 News. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  12. ^ "District 7 West Harlem/Washington Heights/Inwood". Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Former Councilman Robert Jackson Announces State Senate Run". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  14. ^ Katz, Celeste (December 18, 2010). "term-limits-scorecard-david-greenfield-blog-entry-1". Retrieved 2016-09-12 – via
  15. ^ "Robert Jackson, the only Muslim council member, is OK with NYPD surveillance, conditionally". Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Jackson Launches Campaign". Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  17. ^ New York City Council District 7"
  18. ^ About Robert"[permanent dead link] 11, 2014
  19. ^ The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit Was the Best Hope for City Schools. It Failed"
  20. ^ "David Dinkins backing Robert Jackson". Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  21. ^ "New York Primary Election Resuts". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  22. ^ ""Bring it on, mi hermano!" Former Harlem City Councilman Robert Jackson will run for Espaillat's state Senate seat". Retrieved 2014-05-25.
  23. ^ "Espaillat re-elected to State Senate in slight majority over Jackson".
  24. ^ "In Race to Replace Espaillat, Ramifications for Senate Control, His Power, and More". Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  25. ^ "New York Primary Election Resuts". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  26. ^ ""NYS Board of Elections Primary for State Senator Election Returns September 13, 2016"" (PDF). Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "Ex-NYC Councilman eyes run for Espaillat seat".
  28. ^ "New York Primary Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  29. ^ "Robert Jackson Announces Bid to Unseat State Sen. Marisol Alcantara". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  30. ^ Brendan Krisel (September 13, 2018). "NY 31st State Senate Results: Robert Jackson Declared Winner". Patch. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  31. ^ "New York State Unofficial Election Night Results". New York State Board of Elections. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  32. ^ Vivian Wang (September 13, 2018). "Democratic Insurgents Topple 6 New York Senate Incumbents". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  33. ^ "New York Election Results". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  34. ^ Krisel, Brendan. "NY 31st State Senate Results: Robert Jackson Declared Winner". Patch. Patch Media. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  35. ^ @NY31Alcantara (September 14, 2018). "Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that came out to support my campaign. Congratulations to our new State Senator Robert Jackson. As a community, we must come together & work with our new elected official to ensure our community continues to be well represented" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  36. ^ Laird, Jordan. "State candidates that made history". City & State New York. City and State NY, LLC. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Christine Quinn Downplays Bloomberg Link at Tumultuous Mayoral Forum". Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  38. ^ "Jackson, to Thompson: 'Can you see? Hello? Am I black enough for you, brother?'". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  39. ^ "Bill Thompson Speaks at Northern Manhattan Mayoral Forum". Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  40. ^ "Councilman Robert Jackson Sues City After Wife's Fall at Fairway". Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2014-05-25.
  41. ^ "Judge slams Robert Jackson, wife for omissions in lawsuit". Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  42. ^ Brown, Nicole. "New York State Senate: New faces head to Albany to represent the 5 boroughs". AM New York. Newsday. Retrieved 11 November 2018.

External links[edit]