Tish James is currently serving in her second term as the Public Advocate for the City of New York. She is the first woman of color to hold Citywide office in New York City. As Public Advocate, she serves as a watchdog over New York City government agencies, and an advocate and lawyer for the City’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised communities. As Public Advocate, Tish has transformed the office to be a real engine of reform and progress. Her office as handled over 32,000 constituent complaints and passed more legislation than all previous Public Advocates combined, including groundbreaking legislation that bans questions about salary history from the employment process to address the pervasive gender wage gap.
Prior to serving as Public Advocate, Tish James served as the New York City Council Member for the 35th District in Brooklyn. As a Council Member, she passed the Safe Housing Act, legislation that forced landlords to improve living conditions for tenants in New York City’s worst buildings. She helped uncover the corruption behind the Office of Payroll Administration’s CityTime contract, a scheme that cost New York City over $600 million. She also pushed through a revolutionary recycling package that included expanding plastic recycling, a new clothing and textile recycling program, and increased access to recycling in public spaces.
Before her election to New York City Council, Tish James served as head of the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. She resolved hundreds of consumer complaints and investigated predatory lenders who preyed on first-time homebuyers. She assisted the Civil Rights Bureau in its investigation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and cracked down on firms engaged in deceptive business practices including violations of human rights, environmental laws, and scams targeting immigrants.
Tish began her career as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society. She is a graduate of Howard University School of Law and Lehman College, and resides in Brooklyn.