Meet the Candidates

In the 2013 NYC elections, the Progressive Caucus Alliance supported progressive candidates for open seats, and incumbent members of the City Council's Progressive Caucus. We're proud to have helped elect these leaders who share our vision for a better city, and excited to work together in the New York City Council.
Costa Constantinides is a grassroots community organizer, progressive political leader, husband and father who has lived in Astoria his whole life. As a Democratic District Leader, and President of the Queens County Young Democrats, he has proven himself to be well-versed on the issues and an advocate for working families (District 22, Queens).


Margaret Chin immigrated to the U.S. with her family from Hong Kong in 1963 when she was nine years old. She grew up in NYC Chinatown and attended P.S. 130 and JHS 65. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and from the City College of New York (CCNY) with a degree in education. It was at City College through taking Asian Studies courses that Margaret got involved in community organizing. For more than 30 years she has dedicated herself to public service to help immigrants, low income and working families. Margaret was elected to the New York City Council in 2010, as the representative for District 1, lower Manhattan. Margaret is a proud member of the Progressive Caucus, and the Women's Caucus. Margaret has twice been elected by her colleagues to serve as an executive member of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.

Daniel Dromm is an educator, community organizer, union leader, and political activist. His experience and dedication to the community has led to Daniel Dromm being overwhelmingly elected as the New York City Council Member for the 25th District (representing Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, LeFrak City, Corona, Rego Park, and Woodside) with over 75% of the vote on November 3rd, 2009. Daniel Dromm is an award-winning New York City public school teacher. Since 1984, he has instructed and inspired thousands of students at PS 199Q in Queens. In 1992, Dromm courageously came out as an openly gay teacher. The ensuing battle tested Dromm's resolve as a fighter who is unafraid to take on the powers that be. Deeply committed to civil rights and social justice, Dromm has established himself a fighter against prejudice, discrimination and violence as the founder and former co-chairperson of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee. It is creating change that motivates Daniel Dromm to serve the public on the City Council. He serves as Chair of the Committee on Immigration is a member of the Progressive Caucus. 
Julissa Ferreras is a charismatic, pro-active leader and a powerful voice advocating for the needs of her community and New York City’s most vulnerable citizens.  She proudly serves Corona, Elmhurst and parts of Jackson Heights.  Council Member Ferreras grew up in Jackson Heights and currently resides in Corona.  Elected to the 21st Council District in 2009, she is the first Latina to hold a Queens seat on the City Council. Council Member Ferreras is passionately dedicated to improving the status of women in New York City, particularly immigrant women.  She currently serves as Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues where she has raised the profile of that committee, holding hearings on important issues such as human trafficking and domestic violence.  She is also a member of the Policy and Program Working Group, the Progressive Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, and the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.  

Ben Kallos is a third generation Upper East Sider. Born and raised in the neighborhood, he attended New York public schools and went on to become Executive Director of a leading good government group, a public interest lawyer, an entrepreneur and former Chief of Staff to a local Assembly Member. His focus on progressive policy solutions, combined with his depth of experience in the public sector, makes him a natural choice for the endorsement of the Progressive Caucus Alliance (District 5, Manhattan).

Brad Lander has spent his career standing up for affordable, livable, and sustainable communities in Brooklyn and throughout New York City. As executive director of an award-winning community development organization and one of city’s leading public policy advocates, Lander has created and preserved thousands of units of affordable housing, strengthened local small businesses, and helped thousands of low-income New Yorkers find living wage jobs. Lander was elected to the New York City Council in November 2009. He represents the 39th district in Brooklyn, which includes the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Borough Park, and Kensington. Lander lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his wife, Meg Barnette, the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Planned Parenthood NYC, and their children, Marek (who attends Middle School 51) and Rosa (who attends Public School 107).

Mark Levine is a Democratic District Leader in Northern Manhattan and the founder of the area's first and only community development credit union. Mark founded the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan, which has quickly become a force for empowering community residents to make their voice heard in local politics. He is working to unite people from all walks of life in his diverse district around a progressive agenda of economic, social, and environmental justice (District 7, Manhattan).

Stephen Levin was elected in 2009 to represent the 33rd District in the New York City Council, which includes the diverse communities of Greenpoint, parts of Williamsburg, Vinegar Hill, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill and parts of Park Slope. A native of Plainfield, New Jersey, Stephen moved to Brooklyn to work as a community organizer after graduating from Brown University. Stephen started his career by simultaneously running a Lead Safe House program and an anti-predatory lending program, both based in Bushwick. In 2006, Stephen went to work for the New York State Assembly, where his non-profit experience allowed him to advocate effectively for constituents. During his first term in the City Council, Stephen has proven to be a leader on education and early childhood issues, and an advocate for increased open space in our communities and transportation safety initiatives. Council Member Levin serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions, and is a member of the Progressive Caucus.

Melissa Mark-Viverito was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and attended Columbia College at Columbia University in New York City where she earned her B.A. majoring in Political Science in 1991. Melissa was selected to attend the National Urban Fellows Program and earned her Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1995. Melissa is the first Puerto Rican woman and Latina elected to serve as Council Member for the 8th Council District. Melissa has worked to advance an agenda focused on issues affecting working class and low-income families, youth, seniors and immigrant communities. In particular, she has been a staunch advocate for the creation and preservation of income-targeted housing and for our city’s public housing program. She has also spearheaded several initiatives to address local community issues including the city’s first Age Improvement District in East Harlem as well as task forces on youth violence and displacement. She currently serves as Chair of the City Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee and Co-Chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus.

A community and labor activist, Daneek Miller serves as President of Amalgamated Transportation Union (ATU) Local No. 1056, which represents drivers and mechanics who work for MTA New York City Transit's Queens Bus Division. Daneek has lived in Southeast Queens for the past 35 years and has spent a lifetime fighting for its residents. As a labor and community activist with a record of hard-fought victories, Daneek knows the power of building coalitions to deliver for the community. His experience as a labor leader with a record of benefits and services delivered to working people make Daneek well-qualified to represent Southeast Queens in the City Council.  (District 27, Queens)

Antonio Reynoso is a dedicated community leader and public servant who knows how to build diverse coalitions and empower people. As chief of staff to Councilwoman Diana Reyna, Antonio has worked to improve the quality of life for local families and households, and as a City Council Member he will build on his record of fighting to increase opportunities for low-income people. (District 34, Brooklyn)

Donovan Richards grew up Southeast Queens and the Rockaways, and became active in local politics to combat gun violence in his community.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he has helped to lead the effort to provide disaster relief in the Rockaways and Southeast Queens. Donovan won the special election in his district on February 19, 2013 and is now a City Council Member! (District 31, Queens)

Debi Rose holds the distinction of being the first African-American elected official from the Island, winning the 49th Council District seat (North Shore/Staten Island) in 2009. Known for her energetic activism, Councilwoman Rose is a second-generation Staten Island native. She was a member and officer of Community Board 1 for more than 20 years and chaired its Youth Services Planning Committee for 11 years. In a wide range of elected and volunteer positions, she has proven herself an effective advocate for all of the North Shore on issues ranging from public health, education, seniors, and youth, to concerns about the environment, economic development, and housing. Council Member Rose is the chairperson of the New York City Council Civil Rights Committee and a member of the Progressive Caucus.

Ritchie Torres is a lifelong son of the Bronx, who grew up in Bronx Public Housing. As Housing Director for Councilmember Jimmy Vacca, Ritchie organized tenant associations in dilapidated buildings throughout the district, and rallied them to fight for building improvements and rent reductions. Ritchie is running for City Council because he believes that hard working people deserve a fighting chance to earn a decent life for their families, just like he did. (District 15, Bronx)

Jimmy Van Bramer, a life long resident of Western Queens, was elected to the New York City Council on November 3, 2009. A community organizer, Jimmy Van Bramer is the son of two active union members. Jimmy learned the importance of hard work, and the powerful impact that seemingly small efforts can have on the lives of working people. Jimmy has carried those lessons throughout his life. Jimmy's career has been devoted to making his community stronger and making life better for Queens families like the one he grew up in. From 1999-2009, he served as the Chief External Affairs Officer of the Queens Public Library. As the library's link between community members and government, Jimmy worked to protect and expand important library services, such as after-school programs and English language classes. Jimmy currently lives in Sunnyside Gardens with Dan Hendrick, his partner of thirteen years.
Jumaane D. Williams is a first-generation Brooklynite of West Indian parentage. He is a proud product of our city’s public school system, including Brooklyn Tech and Brooklyn College. It was while earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Brooklyn College that Jumaane realized civic engagement and community empowerment would be his focus. He received a Master’s Degree, also from Brooklyn College, in Urban Policy and Administration; during these studies, Jumaane honed his skills as an organizer and also served as the graduate student body president. Since being elected in 2009 to represent the 45th District in the New York City Council, Jumaane has been a tireless advocate for his constituents. In the district, Jumaane has brought his experience as an organizer to help unleash the community’s full potential with realistic solutions, not political rhetoric.  Jumaane serves as co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, vice chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and is a founding member of the Progressive Caucus.