ALBANY — Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, D-Mount Vernon, is leaving her 36th Senatorial District seat in July to to accept a position in the Cuomo Administration.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that Sen. Hassell-Thompson will serve as a Special Advisor for Policy and Community Affairs of State Homes and Community Renewal. Her 36th Senate District runs through the City of Mount Vernon into the Northeast Bronx.
Gov. Cuomo praised Sen. Hassell-Thompson’s experience and track record in and out of office in a statement announcing her appointment.
“As a nurse, an advocate and a member of the New York State Legislature, Senator Hassell-Thompson has spent her entire career fighting to improve lives and build communities,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am proud to have her continue this work as a member of my administration and look forward to working with her to build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous New York for all.”
Her departure apparently will leave the State Senate with 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans and one vacancy. Her Senate seat will be open in November, when it will be one of 63 seats up for grabs in the closely divided chamber. Democrats are in no threat of losing the seat: The district has 123,000 enrolled Democrats and 6,500 enrolled Republicans.
While he has been making the rounds the past month or so, on Sunday, April 24th, Rev. Edward Mulraine, pastor of Unity Baptist Tabernacle in Mount Vernon, will be officially announcing his candidacy for the New York State 36th Senatorial District seat. Mulraine will be making his announcement at three locations: on the steps of Mount Vernon City Hall at 1:00 P.M.; in Co-op City at 135 Einstein Loop in the Bronx at 2:00 P.M. and in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, 4101 White Plains Road, at 3:00 P.M.
NY State of Politics reports that Jamaal Bailey, an attorney and Bronx district leader who has close ties with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, is also running for the seat, as is a well-known Bronx pastor, the Rev. Que English.
Sen. Hassell-Thompson, 73, who unsuccessfully ran for Mount Vernon Mayor in the crowded 2015 Democratic primary, and then in the General Election on the Working Families Party line, said she felt it was time to leave the Senate.
“This was an opportunity that was offered to me. I had been ready to leave the Senate. I made that clear to everyone,” Hassell-Thompson told Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
The announcement of her appointment was made now so it was clear she wasn’t seeking re-election in the fall. But she wanted to stay in office through the end of the legislative session, which ends in mid-June.
“I don’t want the public to be confused about whether I was running or not,” she said.
Senator Hassell-Thompson is a former Mount Vernon City Council president and acting Mount Vernon mayor, the founding president of The Gathering, a women’s center in the city, and once served as CEO of Whart Development, a real estate development firm. She also served as a nurse at Mount Vernon Hospital.
“I am thrilled to be joining Governor Cuomo’s administration within New York State Homes and Community Renewal,” Sen. Hassell-Thompson shared. “Under Governor Cuomo, HCR has a tremendous impact on advancing housing policy state-wide, including the Governor’s efforts in developing and protecting affordable housing and protecting vulnerable communities. I am excited to lend my expertise to those efforts.”