Local politics might not be your chief concern as you prepare to uproot your entire universe, move across the country, and attempt to make friends with a few thousand other over-achieving geeks, but there are plenty of reasons to care about your new home! With countless unions, special interests, businesses, and millions of people, New York City is like a political pressure cooker. It’s impossible to summarize that whole mess in a short blog post, but here is some basic information about our local, state-wide, and federal representation.
Community Board: Morningside Heights is member of Manhattan Community Board #9. Manhattanville, the northern site of Columbia’s mammoth expansion, is also a part of CB9M. Most of the Mville expansion (don’t worry, there will be a primer for that too!) battle has been fought in courtrooms, and it’s likely that nothing exciting will happen with the community board in the near future.
City Council: Our City Council member is Inez Dickens. She is well-connected and has served as the majority whip. Some speculate that once her second term expires (2013) Dickens might try for Charlie Rangel’s House seat (see U.S. House below).
State Assembly: Our New York State Assembly member is Daniel O’Donnell. Elected in 2002, O’Donnell was the first openly gay member of the State Assembly. He was actually the author of the recent (and finally successful) Marriage Equality Act. A member of the “bear” community, he represents district 69.
State Senate: Bill Perkins is our New York State Senator (30th district). He went to Brown.
U.S. House: Charlie Rangel is our representative in New York’s 15th Congressional District. He’s the third longest serving member in the House, and during the last 30 years he’s been one of the most relevant figures in congressional politics (looong Wikipedia page). Recently, Rangel has been caught up in multiple ethics scandals. Despite that, he still won re-election with 80% of the vote. Shortly after the election, Rangel was censured by the full House. A note about NY-15: it’s tied with NY-16 for being the most Democratic congressional district in the entire country. Obama carried it with 93% of the vote.
But really, when it comes to NYC politics, Mayor Michael Bloomberg runs the show. While the official reach of his powers may be officially limited, this is a guy that managed to change election laws so that he could chill in town hall for a few more years. That, and there is always a rumor circulating about a self-financed run for the White House.
Fat Cat via Wikipedia.