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Mayor de Blasio Announces Julie Menin as Director of the Census for NYC and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy

January 2, 2019

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Julie Menin as Director of the Census for New York City. She also will serve as Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy. In her new roles, Menin will organize extensive outreach efforts to encourage every New York City resident to participate in the upcoming 2020 Census. An accurate census count will ensure that New York receives its fair share of education, healthcare, housing and infrastructure funding and its proper electoral representation in Congress.

As Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy, Menin has been tasked to aggressively pursue innovative strategies to protect New Yorkers who may be hurt by federal actions, including exploring avenues for litigation, legislation and rule-making. In this role, she will collaborate with partners including other cities and advocacy groups to change the legal landscape on a wide range of issues from immigrant rights and citizenship, to voter protections, gerrymandering and critical federal funding grants directed toward the City and our most vulnerable New Yorkers. In addition, she will use her many years of legal experience in consumer protection to advise on affirmative litigation against companies that are preying on New Yorkers.

“Julie Menin has been able to get the job done very effectively in every single role she’s held,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From her time chairing Community Board 1 to her outstanding work leading two city agencies, Julie has been able to leverage government, legal and the not for profit and private sectors to put low-income New Yorkers, small businesses and marginalized communities first. I’m confident Julie will help protect New York from the Trump Administration’s attacks on a fair census effort and help build confidence among all New York City communities so that every New Yorker participates in the upcoming 2020 Census.” 

“Having an accurate count of the population is vital for a fair share and distribution of resources and equitable political representation, especially under a federal administration consistently attacking immigrants. We must all work together and ensure that every New Yorker is counted in the Census 2020,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“Nothing is more important for a fair distribution of resources and access to economic opportunities in our democratic society than making sure everyone is counted by the census,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. “The de Blasio Administration is working hard to fight any attempts to undercount New Yorkers, and I look forward to working with a leader with extraordinary managerial experience and community savvy like Julie Menin to ensure that historically disenfranchised and marginalized communities in our city won’t be scared into silence.”

“Because of Julie’s experience as a consumer advocate, litigator, regulatory attorney and civic leader, she is uniquely qualified to provide focused executive level oversight of the Law Department’s strategic advocacy initiative and aggressively pursue opportunities to advance the City’s policy objectives through litigation, legislation and rulemaking,” said Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter.

“I am thrilled to take on this new dual role as Census Director and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy at this critical juncture for our city when it has never been more important to fight the threats to democracy and immigration that our city faces. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that every New Yorker is counted so our city receives the billions in funding it deserves for public schools, health care, child care, senior centers and infrastructure and that we will use every legal avenue to protect our democratic ideals and make sure justice is served,” said Julie Menin, Director of the Census for New York City and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy.

Many federal programs rely on the population figures collected by the census to distribute federal funds among states and local governments. A total of approximately $700 billion is distributed annually to States across the country through approximately 300 different census-guided federal grant and funding programs. These programs support essential services including healthcare, public education, social services and infrastructure development. Inaccurate population counts resulting from the Trump Administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census could harm cities by depriving them of their fair share of federal funding and removing crucial resources for important government services. New York State alone also stands to lose one congressional seat if the 2020 Census count is inaccurate.

As a result, the de Blasio Administration joined the Attorney General’s Office and other cities in a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from including the question in the Census. The de Blasio Administration also allocated approximately $4.3 million dollars for its census efforts to build out a citywide public awareness campaign for communities across New York City. In September, the Department of City Planning submitted addresses for more than 122,000 housing units that the Census Bureau did not have on its address list for the 2020 Census. Approximately 300,000 additional New Yorkers could now be counted as a result of this update.

The Mayor also charged Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson to oversee and lead the Administration’s census efforts. Deputy Mayor Thompson also appointed Nisha Agarwal as his Senior Advisor and Jorge Fanjul as his Senior Advisor for DemocracyNYC and Deputy Director of Census Outreach and Organizing. Julie Menin will bring her government and legal expertise and community organizing skills to this team to further expand these outreach efforts and will work closely with the Department of City Planning and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. The City will also work closely with the Census Bureau’s Regional Office on preparations for the 2020 Census to ensure that the special challenges in enumerating New York City’s population are addressed.

About Julie Menin
Julie Menin is an attorney and civic leader who has over two decades of experience in the legal, regulatory and public sectors. Menin also brings years of experience organizing, advocating and securing funding in the non-profit, private and government sectors for a number of initiatives, including her work as a leading force in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11. In addition, Menin chaired Community Board 1 for seven years in the aftermath of 9/11 and was a strong and vocal advocate for the community. During her time as chair, she spearheaded the approval of the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque. Menin also served as Commissioner of the Redistricting Commission in 2001 where she led a non-partisan effort to set new City Council district lines.

Menin most recently served as the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and launched dozens of new initiatives that promote equality in the media and entertainment industry. Prior to her time at MOME, Menin served as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, where she was instrumental in implementing many of the Mayor’s signature projects, including the Paid Sick Leave Law, the Small Business Relief Package to reduce fines on businesses, and the implementation of the Living Wage Executive Order. In addition, she launched the City's first expanded Earned Income Tax initiative, creating an outreach program that resulted in an extraordinary 50 percent increase in New Yorkers using the City's free tax centers and returning $260 million to low-income New Yorkers. As Commissioner of DCA, Menin tackled bureaucratic barriers that stymied economic growth and resulted in a one-third reduction in fines on small businesses and 70 percent increase in consumer restitution. She also launched investigations into not-for-profit colleges, fraudulent auto loans, debt collectors, and other industries preying on New Yorkers.

Menin also is an Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Policy at Columbia University where she teaches When Cities Take the Lead, a class focused on how cities fill the void of state and federal inaction in fields such as criminal justice, consumer protection, immigration and environmental protection. She began her career as a regulatory attorney at Wiley, Rein & Fielding in Washington D.C., where she specialized in consumer protection issues and worked as Senior Regulatory Attorney at Colgate-Palmolive in New York City handling regulatory matters for the agency encompassing the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and consumer litigation.

Menin earned her B.A. Magna Cum Laude at Columbia University and her J.D. at Northwestern University School of Law.

“As the Department of City Planning works to ensure that the U.S. Census Bureau has complete and accurate data for the 2020 Census, I welcome the leadership and vision that Julie Menim brings. Her know-how and long-standing record of fighting for New Yorkers will help assure that there will be a fair count - which is essential for New York City to receive the representation and resources that we deserve,” said Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago. 
“It is absolutely essential that every single New Yorker is counted as part of the census,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.  “It is good news that Mayor de Blasio is appointing Julie Menin to lead New York City’s effort on the census.  The census is not just a collection of academic statistics.  It holds the key that unlocks political power for New Yorkers, and that delivers much needed federal assistance to our City and State.  I look forward to working with Julie as we make sure every New Yorker is counted in the census.”

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, “The Census serves as a fundamental bedrock of our democracy and, under this Administration, we must be especially vigilant to ensure every New Yorker is counted. With the White House pushing anti-immigrant policies, including efforts to add a citizenship question to the Census, it’s more important than ever that we have a strong voice at the city level working to ensure a fair, accurate census count. Julie Menin is an outstanding choice for this role and I applaud her appointment.”

“The U.S. Census is a critical component in our efforts to ensure a fair and fully representative government,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “I commend Mayor de Blasio on today’s announcement to appoint Julie Menin as the new Census Director, who has a proven track record fighting for New York City workers and will continue to stand up to ensure the voices of millions of New Yorkers are counted and represented fairly in the next census.”

"It is critical that every single New Yorker is counted. As the current administration attempts to weaponize the census, New York is at risk of losing critical resources and funding--as well as Congressional representation--in the coming census. Every single New Yorker must be counted, and I look forward to working with Ms. Menin, as well as stakeholders at every level, to ensure that happens," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo said, “This upcoming Census will be one of the most challenging and important ever undertaken, which is why strong leadership is required to further ensure we overcome federal threats to a proper count. I commend Mayor de Blasio for understating that much is at stake by appointing Julie Menin to oversee New York City Census efforts as well as her role as Counsel For Strategic Advocacy. I look forward to working closely with Julie to ensure we count every New Yorker and deliver the resources and representation we need and deserve.”

“Ensuring that our communities are counted and that desperately needed resources reach the most vulnerable is the most important priority for the upcoming census count. We know that there has been an effort to disenfranchise some of the most marginalized members of our community from participating in the 2020 Census,” said NYS Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa. “I applaud Mayor De Blasio and his administration for investing into an initiative that will ensure that all New Yorkers are counted. I congratulate Julie Menin on her most recent  appointment to direct this important initiative and know that because of her proven track record she will continue to fight to bring fairness for all New Yorkers.”

“The census is much more than a simple count of persons. It determines the most fundamental elements of our democracy, from the number of Representatives we get in Congress, to how much federal funding goes towards our social welfare programs. As such, any attempt to lower participation - such as Trump’s addition of a citizenship question - will dramatically undercount how much New Yorkers - including our immigrant New Yorkers - deserve of both. I applaud the appointment of Commissioner Menin as Director of the Census and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy, and this commitment on the part of the City to prioritize an aggressive outreach campaign and legal strategy to counter the citizenship question's legality. I offer my full support to ensure we can reach every New Yorker, including our immigrant New Yorkers, who stand to benefit from a robust census," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.

“Ensuring that every New Yorker is counted in the 2020 Census is critical for fair representation and the funding the City needs and deserves,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. “Additionally, making sure that the City has a strong voice in opposing federal efforts to marginalize immigrants and in protecting public health and the environment is the right thing to do.  I congratulate Commissioner Menin on this appointment.”

“Julie Menin has always fought for ordinary New Yorkers. She is the right person for this work, whether that means ensuring a fair census or battling the worst that comes out of Washington DC,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

“As the nation’s largest property service workers’ union and one of the largest representing immigrant workers, we are deeply concerned about the Trump administration’s efforts to suppress immigrant response rates to the 2020 Census,” said Hector Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU. “That’s why we are so pleased that Julie Menin has been appointed Director for Census in New York City and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy. Given her strong track record, we are hopeful that she will work closely with New York Counts 2020, the largest coalition of stakeholders groups in New York State seeking a fair and accurate census, and that together we will ensure that the 2020 Census counts everyone as our Constitution intends and our democracy demands.”

“This is a critical moment in history, and I commend Mayor de Blasio for his selection of Julie Menin to lead the preparation for one of the most challenging and important ground operations of his tenure, the 2020 Census,” said New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez. “The New York City Labor Movement is committed to working with the Census Bureau, the City of New York and all community partners to ensure that every New Yorker is counted, that New York gets its fair share, and that we stand together in solidarity to fight any attempts to undercount New York City.”

“We are thrilled that Julie Menin will be leading the City's Census efforts,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “Asian American Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing population in New York City and have historically been undercounted in the Census. As a nonprofit organization with over 50 years of experience in this diverse community, CPC looks forward to working with Julie to identify resources to ensure that New Yorkers of all racial and immigrant backgrounds are counted in the upcoming Census.”

"The members at Make the Road New York are excited to work with incoming New York City Census Director Julie Menin and the City of New York so that the 2020 Census works for all New Yorkers," said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. "In order to make sure that all New Yorkers get counted and the confidentiality of their responses is protected, we need to forge a strong relationship between the City and our communities and push back against the federal government. We look forward to working in partnership to accomplish those goals."

“The YMCA is here for all New Yorkers and as such, we want to assure that all New Yorkers are counted,” said Sharon Greenberger, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “We thank the administration for appointing Julie Menin today and are confident in her leadership in spreading the urgent message that attaining an accurate and complete count of our population is key to New York’s vitality into the next century.”

"A fair and accurate census is vital to New York City. In Julie Menin, Mayor de Blasio has found the perfect leader to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted. She's smart, effective, and committed to fighting for all New Yorkers, and especially the most vulnerable among us,” said Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President of CWA District One.

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