HARLEM — "Fresh blood" with experience is needed in the City Council, Assemblywoman Inez Dickens said before throwing her support behind an executive at the grocery-delivery service FreshDirect to become her successor.
Dickens, the former Harlem councilwoman who was recently elected to the state Assembly, joined her pick, Larry Scott Blackmon, and about a dozen supporters at his campaign headquarters at the Frederick E. Samuels Democratic Club at 190 W. 135th St. to announce the endorsement.
“This is going to be a very unrecognized election but it’s critical, it’s important, because this is the most important seat to our district,” she said to the crowd.
“And with the new diversity that has come in — ethnically, socially and economically — we need the one person I know can navigate this, that I know can stand as the waters run deep, that I know will stand up and fight, that I know will take take hold of the reins.”
More than a dozen candidates are running to represent the 9th Council District, which includes parts of the Upper West Side and East Harlem, in the Feb. 14 special election.
Blackmon is a former deputy commissioner for the city's Parks Department and also has experience in the private sector.
Dickens said her decision was not about “seniority,” but about understanding that Harlem is “a neighborhood in transition.”
“I had a burning desire, I had to endorse the one who I thought would be the best person,” she said. “We need someone that knows the district.”
Dickens also said that Harlem has freshman elected officials across the board in their respective positions, but all have previously served in government.
For instance, former state Sen. Adriano Espaillat is the freshman Congressman for Harlem and she is the freshman assemblywoman.
“We need to encourage the next generation coming in,” Dickens said.
“I want someone to follow in my footsteps, someone to follow in Congressman Rangel’s footsteps.”
Blackmon echoed the message, telling supporters he has what it takes.
“One thing I know is I know Harlem, I served in government… and I served in the private sector,” said Blackmon, of his job as vice president of FreshDirect.
“I understand how to get things done.”
Dickens said Blackmon, who was also former deputy commissioner for the city's Department of Small Business Services, represented a good balance between experience in the private and public sectors.
Keith Wright — the former assemblyman a who ran an unsuccessful bid for Congress last year and recently took a job for a lobbying firm — did not attend the rally but said in a statement he is endorsing Blackmon.