By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who grew up in Brooklyn, has picked up endorsements in his quest to become New York’s next mayor from several of the borough's Latino elected officials and civic leaders.
On June 22, a group of officials and activists that included Councilman Erik Martin Dilan (D-East New York-Bushwick), state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (D-Bushwick-Greenpoint-Williamsburg), Assemblyman Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick-Cypress Hills), St. Peter's Lutheran Church Pastor Rev. David Benke, and members of the 54th Assembly District Democratic Club, stood with Thompson at a press conference in Cypress Hills to announce their support for him.
Several of the speakers touted Thompson, who is also a former Board of Education president, as a candidate who can bring New Yorkers together and work successfully to create better schools. Thompson grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
"I am proud to stand with Bill Thompson. He's a leader who will listen to our communities’ needs and bring people together on the issues we care about: safe streets, strong schools and good-paying jobs," Espinal said.
"The Bible teaches us to love not in word, but in deed and in truth. I have seen Bill Thompson's work and compassion for struggling New Yorkers. He clearly loves this city and its people," Benke said. “I'm proud to stand with him and to join him in helping the most vulnerable among us," he said.
The press conference capped off a good week for Thompson, who has been struggling to move up in the polls. The most recent polls showed him behind former Congressman Anthony Weiner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. But Thompson's campaign received a major boost on June 19, when the United Federation of Teachers announced that the union was endorsing him.
“We need to make sure that schools are being supported and not attacked,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, outlining the reasoning behind the endorsement.
Speaking at a press conference at the union’s headquarters, Mulgrew said Thompson would look out for teachers and for children.
“We need to make sure that our children are getting a real education and not just test prep. “We need to make sure that the entire city school system is about helping teachers help children, and we now have a candidate that we know will do that,” the UFT president said.
“For too long, teachers have been demonized, communities divided, and parents shut out. That will end when I am mayor," Thompson said. "I will bring New Yorkers together to create great schools for working families in every community," he said.