MoCADA Director Mulls Run For Tish James' Seat: Report


The still-evolving race to succeed Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Fort Greene, may have just got a bit more crowded.

According to a report by the New York Observer's Politicker blog, local museum director Laurie Cumbo is looking into a campaign to replace James, who is running for Public Advocate in 2013.

"First and foremost, I would say that the political arena is in need of totally new, different of types of thinkers," Cumbo said to Politicker this week. "I feel that that the arts and cultural community has not had a voice in government and I feel that there are many voices and important voices in government, but there has never been that creative, imaginative new way of thinking, out-of-the-box thinking, that has been a major voice in the political arena. I’m looking to fill that void."

As executive director and founder of the Museum of Contemporary African and Diasporan Art, begun in 1999, Cumbo has been a highly visible neighborhood presence, appearing at several meetings of Community Board 2 and, most recently, at last month's Assembly campaign kickoff for District Leader Walter Mosley in Clinton Hill. 

If Cumbo officially throws her hat in the race, she will join former Council staffer Ede Fox, Khari Edwards and activist Jelani Mashariki.

Cumbo stressed to Politicker that she had not yet made a decision—however, the museum director seemed keen to expand beyond the arts and culture arena.

"I think that you should only run for public office when you have exhausted your ability to serve the community in your current capacity," she said. "In my current capacity, I can’t do anything more than what I’m doing."

For now it seems, Cumbo will content herself with going to work everyday at her office at 80 Hanson Place—a building named, perhaps tellingly, for another one-time aspirant for higher office: former Councilman James E. Davis.

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