Civil rights activist, attorney and GO legal columnist Yetta Kurland has announced her candidacy for the City Council’s Third District seat, her second attempt at replacing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. (Term limits, and her widely expected mayoral run, preclude Quinn from another term.)
Kurland made the announcement December 10 on the steps of City Hall, surrounded by supporters holding blue ‘Yetta 2013’ posters.
“As a woman I came of age defending abortion clinics and women who were under assault from anti-choice efforts,” Kurland said. “I came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in an era when I could not hold my partner’s hand without fear of physical assault; when the AIDS epidemic made clear our community’s powerlessness and invisibility; and when the idea of being able to marry the person I loved was laughed at. But my true passion for advocacy has come in fighting for others.”
Kurland has been active over the past year: In addition to defending Occupy Wall Street protesters, she spearheaded a coalition of activists to save St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. Though the hospital ultimately closed, the fight raised Kurland’s profile as a community activist focused on improving the quality of life on the west side of Manhattan.
If elected, Kurland said she would fight to open another full-service hospital at the St. Vincent’s site, support proposed legislation to give paid sick leave for every New York City worker, increase affordable housing and small business ownership in her district, and represent the interests of the 99 percent.
Kurland will face a primary fight against Community Board 4 chair Corey Johnson, who, like Kurland, is openly gay. Both have unveiled long lists of endorsers, though according to New York City Campaign Finance Board filings, Johnson has managed to raise about twice as much money as Kurland has of this past July.