TBC Spotlight: Clyde Williams, A Former Clinton Aide Exploring Another Run For NY-13

With Congressman Charles Rangel retiring, Clyde Williams recently announced he is exploring another run for NY-13. In 2012, Williams finished third behind primary winner Congressman Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Williams, a registered Democrat, says that there is a completely different electoral dynamic this time. Four of his potential rivals are career politicians. A fifth, Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, like Williams hangs her hat on being a former Clinton and Obama aide.


Clyde Williams biography refers to his twenty-plus years working in public service, including his move to Harlem in 2001 as domestic policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton and his role as Political Director at the DNC for President Barack Obama.


Card Image - Clyde 2012Recently, Clyde Williams spoke with The Bronx Chronicle about his plans.

The Bronx Chronicle: Why are you running for Congress, again? 

Clyde Williams: “I believe my community deserves better,” Williams said as he cited unresolved decades-old problems such as healthcare disparities, education inequality, and the high cost of housing. “Rents are up 60% in the Bronx and up 90% in Harlem over the last ten years.”


TBC: What makes you different to other potential candidates?

CW: “[State Senator] Espaillat and [Assemblyman] Wright claim to be champions of the people but have failed to do their jobs,” he charged.

Citing his DC experience and working with two Presidents, Williams said, “Change is needed. I can work across the aisle and bring resources for small businesses.”


TBC: Aren’t Wright, Espaillat, Powell and Perkins are experienced lawmakers? 

CW: “I bring a good understanding of the federal government. I understand working with the Office of Management and Budget and having good relations with the President,” said he said. Referring to his opponents nearly seventy years of Albany experience,  Williams noted that “the culture of Albany has created corruption, incompetence and mismanagement.” Clearly, he wants to remind voters of the State Legislature’s history of dysfunction and corruption,  however, he stopped short of calling his opponents corrupt.


TBC: Presently, you have not launched an official 2016 campaign committee. Will you be about to make up fundraising ground in time for the June 2016 congressional primary?

CW: “In 2012, I out-raised Congressman Rangel in two of three campaign reporting quarters.  And  I believe that I am well-positioned to do well in fundraising.”


TBC: What are your top three issues and policy priorities? 

CW: “Education inequality, better healthcare delivery, and housing are my priorities,” he answered. “You can’t get new results if you rely on the same old people.” In a slap at Wright and Perkins who attended private prep schools (Fieldston and Collegiate Preparatory School, respectively), Williams said that parents whose children attend low-performing schools in Harlem, Upper Manhattan and the Bronx deserve to exercise similar options, such as charter schools.

Recently, Williams has gone after the proliferation of methadone clinics in East Harlem. “Why should poor communities be overburdened with methadone clinics,” he intoned as he criticized the political establishment for doing little to solve the problem as a bill limiting such facilities opening near a school or church languished in Albany for a decade.


TBC: Is there a message you have Bronx residents living and voting in NY-13?

CW: “The Bronx was added to the congressional district in 2012 and I would open a Bronx congressional  office because I want them to feel just as important [as my Manhattan constituents].”


Clyde_On Your Side-Clyde Williams 2016Although he says he has not decided on another run for Congress, Williams has a campaign website up and running at Clyde Williams 2016. The site has a whimsical superhero theme featuring a young boy wearing a mask and a cape — Clyde…On Your Side. Williams seems to position himself as the candidate who can help community residents realize their dreams. He refers to his success addressing small business, education, healthcare access and public safety needs across the community.


The website tells visitors that “[a]fter nearly half a century, our community finally has a real choice. We must stand-up and fight against corruption, ineffectiveness and the ideas of the past – and embrace a new generation of political leadership to help every citizen of this community achieve real change.”


In the next few weeks, Clyde Williams will make his intentions known to Manhattan and Bronx voters. I imagine Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” playing in Williams’ head as he makes his decision.

Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?

Will Williams answer the call? Stay tuned.

Note: The article has been edited to correct a numerical typo. Mr. Williams said “Rents in the Bronx are up 60%,” not 16% as originally printed. 

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