Dickens runs to represent Harlem

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Inez Dickens,  a lifelong Harlem resident, is running for Keith Wright’s state Senate seat. Credit: New York City Council

By Alaina Raftis

City Councilwoman Inez Dickens is a lifelong New Yorker and multi-millionaire. She’s running for the Senate District 70 seat of Keith Wright, who is stepping down after 23 years following an unsuccessful bid to succeed Charlie Rangel in Congress.

Dickens, married with no children, is one of New York’s wealthiest elected public officials, according to the Observer. Her current base salary at the City Council, where she’s served since 2005, is $112,500. But she is worth over $2.1 million dollars due to her family’s involvement in real estate development.

Earlier this year, she and other City Council members requested and received a $36,000 pay raise. She told the commission she didn’t deserve to be “‘penalized’ for becoming a ‘public servant’,” according to DNAinfo.com.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in land economics from New York University.

Earlier this year, Dickens, 67, was fined $3,500 for violating of election fundraising rules, according to DNAinfo. The Dickens Committee also violated fundraising laws in 2009 and was fined $1,452, according to city Campaign Finance Board records.

She will face Republican Heather Tarrant in November’s general election.

Dickens received $298,822 in contributions for 2015 and 2016, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign platform

  • Favors childcare tax credit and charter schools, such as the Harlem Children Zone charter school at St. Nicholas housing development
  • Supports the needs of women and children
  • Established the “Healthy Feet for Healthy Living” project, which provides children in New York City public schools with public health, outreach and screenings to address ill foot health. Foot problems can lead to mobility issues and obesity
  • Supports Project Greenhope, which provides women leaving prison temporary housing
  • Worked with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to secure a rent free place for anti-violence group, Harlem Mother’s S.A.V.E.
  • Supported the development of 10 community gardens in vacant urban spaces, instead of turning them into a housing development
  • Opposed the rezoning plan along 125th Street in Harlem because of her concerns of gentrification, overdevelopment and displacement
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