Marte, Victorious in City Council Race, Now Pivots to the Tasks Ahead

Christopher Marte and supporters celebrate the candidate's victory on election night. Photo courtesy of the Marte campaign

Nov. 04, 2021

Fresh off his inevitable victory and “a little bit exhausted from all the campaigning,” Christopher Marte, the newly elected City Councilman for Lower Manhattan’s 1st District, is quickly shifting political gears. First and foremost: “Finalizing a team.”

“We only have two months really to figure this all out,” said Marte, whose 72% of the vote overwhelmed his two opponents, Independent Maud Maron and Republican Jacqueline Toboroff (14% each). 

In a phone interview, Marte, 32, said he has appointed his campaign manager, Caitlin Kelmar, as his chief of staff, and is now “figuring out the right people to help this district, having people who speak all the major languages in our district, whether its Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, hiring an experienced land use person who’s highly qualified to deal with some of the big development issues that we’re facing.”

Much of Marte’s campaigning and activism has been around zoning issues, and battles against large-scale development. Now he hopes to be appointed to the Rezoning and Franchises subcommittee of the Council’s Land Use Committee. “It has a lot of influence, especially with all the rezoning we’ve seen throughout our district,” he said.

Marte said he has a “fairly positive relationship” with Mayor-elect Eric Adams and will be seeking to convince him to scrap the planned jail tower in Chinatown. (In April, candidate Adams stood with Marte at a press event and declared his fervent opposition to the project.) He noted that Adams has publicly supported the borough-based jail plan but has said that he would consult with incoming Council members, like Marte, who represent districts where they would be built. (Outgoing Councilwoman Margaret Chin supported the plan, which the Council approved in 2019.)

“My stance has been fairly public,” said Marte, co-founder of Neighbors United Below Canal, a community group that sued the city, unsuccessfully, to stop the jail. “Hopefully [Adams] will follow my lead and not build the Chinatown jail.” 

Marte’s victory was nearly assured after garnering 40% of the vote in the July Democratic primary, well ahead of his nearest rival in a wide field of candidates. As hes been doing since winning the primary, Marte will be back at the Tribeca Greenmarket on Saturday mornings (beginning Nov. 13). He said he’ll be talking to locals, answering questions and even explaining what it is a Council member does. “We’re not waiting until January to open up the doors of our future office,” the new Councilman said.