(Photo Caption) Power Display: Governor David Paterson with Councilman Al Vann as Vann opens wha he reports will be his last campaign. The Governor was joined in his endorsement by State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Stae Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblymember Annette Robinson, Councilwoman Letitia James and a host of others.
Councilman Al Vann held what is said to be his last major campaign kickoff rally at the Lab community and entertainment complex on Harriet Tubman Boulevard/Tompkins Avenue in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant and it highlighted the strengths of his campaign.
The Councilman said he had been taught not to be a showoff but “I showed off a little this afternoon.” And he did, bringing thirty years of relationships, and a lifetime of mutual histories. Both Governor David Paterson and State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith were present at the event and both spoke of “standing” on Councilman Vann’s shoulders and how his stature (with them in the world of politics) is not something that comes easily. It was evident from their steadfast show of support in their remarks that their trust in his counsel gives the Councilman an uncommonly strong voice in Albany and New York City.
State Senator Smith joked, “I was a puppy when Vann was demonstrating in the streets,” adding that without Vann taking the lead, many of the big name politicians, in and out of the room, wouldn’t be where they are. “Vann knows where we’ve been and he knows where we’re going,” said Smith.
Noting Vann’s leadership on Black empowerment, Councilwoman Letitia James, who formerly worked for Vann, said “My DNA was crafted by Al Vann.”
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, now Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Children and Families, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Comptroller William Thompson, Council members John Liu and Bill DeBlasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and others spoke of Councilman Vann’s leadership on and behind the scenes on many challenges faced by the community.
Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries said that “two generations of leadership” were lifted up by Councilman Vann, and the audience of supporters, veterans of many of the community’s primary movements for the past 40 years, suggested an apparent — and perhaps this warrior’s only — challenge will be to bring the digital generation into the campaign.