On her newly designed website, James put a halt to all the rumors about her political aspirations with a video announcement.
“I didn’t grow up with power or privilege,” her statement read. “As a Black girl from Brooklyn, too many tried to write me off as a statistic. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life and my career to protecting the vulnerable and fighting for working families.”
James, a 2021 EBONY Power 100 awardee, made history in 2018 as the first Black woman to hold a statewide office in New York. She's New York’s first Black attorney general. Before that, the Howard University graduate worked as a public defender, then as a staffer in the New York State Assembly before becoming an Assistant Attorney General. James also served as a member of the New York City Council, representing the 35th district from 2004 to 2013.
“I’ve spent my career guided by a simple principle: Stand up to the powerful on behalf of the vulnerable, she said. "To be a force for change,” she says in her first campaign ad. “I’ve gone after the drug companies for fueling the opioid crisis. I’ve fought for better conditions and transparency in nursing homes. I’ve sued the Trump administration 76 times. But who’s counting?”
John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union International was one of the first labor leaders to endorse James when she formally entered the race.
“In Tish James, workers will have a Governor who goes to bat for us every single day,” he said in a statement. “Tish knows better than anyone how to stand up to powerful anti-worker interests. She will be a governor that working New Yorkers can trust.”
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Assemblywoman (D-Brooklyn) and the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairwoman, noted that James will be joining a crowded field ahead of the primary in June.
“Tish James is a great addition to the diverse field of very accomplished Democratic candidates vying to serve our state,” she said. “Tish’s track record as Attorney General firmly demonstrates her courage in defending our democracy and makes her a formidable contender.”
Along with James, other gubernatorial hopefuls include New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Mayor Bill de Blasio—both have hinted that they are considering a run for the office. Also, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.) are all rumored to be seeking the governor’s seat as well.