New York, NY—District 5 Council Candidate Billy Freeland is the only candidate in the heavily contested race to receive an endorsement from two leading progressive political organizations on the Upper East Side—the UES Progressives and Indivisible UES.

After recent candidate forums, the UES Progressives, a chapter of the New York Progressive Action Network and Our Revolution, the progressive political action organization founded after Senator Bernie’s (I-VT) 2016 presidential campaign, co-endorsed Freeland along with fellow candidate Rebecca Lamorte, while Indivisible UES provided their second-rank endorsement to Freeland.

In an interview, Freeland said it means a lot to receive the endorsements because it’s a validation of the campaign’s hard work, as well as his hard work in the community for the last several years.

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“I’ve tried to advance progressive causes and goals—whether [it’s my work] on the community board to progressive campaigns to this very campaign for city council, we’ve been out there saying that we need a New Deal for New York, and I think this is a direct response to that,” said Freeland.

In addition to the endorsements from UES Progressives and Indivisible UES, Freeland received today the endorsement of the Black Lives Matter Caucus, which is the political arm of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. He’s also been endorsed by NYC Kids PAC, which is a leading group of public-school parents fighting for school equity. And he received a second-rank endorsement from The Jewish Vote, which is a project of Jews For Racial and Economic Justice.

“So, taken together, I think it really validates what we’ve been saying and speaks to how we are building a broad-based progressive coalition in the district,” Freeland said.

Just as we asked of Kim Moscaritolo, we asked Freeland how, in a field of six Democratic candidates, he can distinguish himself in the eyes of the voters.

Freeland pointed to his work as a lawyer, for example.

“I’ve represented a client who simply needed housing repairs from the one of the worst landlords in the city—NYCHA. She needed 41 housing repairs, and we were able to win those repairs by suing NYCHA,” said Freeland.

“I don’t think any other candidate could say they stood up in court that way, it’s that type of experience that I’m going to bring to the council office in a way that I don’t believe any other candidate can.” 

We interviewed Jeremy Berman, an advisory board member of UES Progressives, who explained that the organization co-endorsed both Freeland and Lamorte based on two-thirds of the vote of the membership.

“The members were very impressed with both Freeland and Lamorte in their responses to our questions about housing, about transportation, about racial and criminal justice. It was very clear that those two candidates knew what they were talking about and had a concrete and ambitious plan to bring true progressive change to our neighborhood and to the city,” said Berman.

For example, the group believes that Freeland has a really detailed transportation plan. According to Freeland, the city really can’t fight climate change “unless we reclaim our streets.” That’s why he’s calling for the building of busways, connected bike lanes and pedestrian spaces as a means to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

“Freeland has given a lot of attention to making the streets more friendly for cyclists and for pedestrians and less of a car-focused atmosphere like we currently have,” Berman said.

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