From his first elected position as School Board President where he launched the Campaign for Fiscal Equality school funding lawsuit, walked 150 miles to Albany to highlight the cause and won a court judgment that awarded $16 billion for NYC public schools, to his 12 years on the City Council where he sponsored the Small Business Survival Act and fought for fairness, justice and equality, to his overwhelming election to the State Senate, Robert Jackson has taken on the tough fights for New Yorkers … and never backed down. He knows how to get things done, and has a record to prove it.
Growing up in Northern Manhattan with eight brothers and sisters, he didn’t have much, faced many obstacles and times were often tough. As a student at PS 186, he never dreamed that one day he would be a leading member of the City Council and a candidate for State Senate. It was possible through hard work, perseverance, the help of good people in the community and teachers like his track coach at Benjamin Franklin High School Irwin Goldberg, who took an interest in him, pointed him in the right direction and made sure he went to college. And that has made all the difference. That’s why he has fought so hard to knock down barriers and to make sure every child receives the best education possible.
As a Community School Board President, Robert Jackson filed a lawsuit against the state to fix an inequitable New York State school funding distribution formula that was cheating NYC schools and undermining our children’s future. He walked 150 miles to Albany to highlight the cause and won a court judgment that awarded $16 billion for NYC schools. As a result of this landmark decision and “for being a staunch advocate for generations of New York City children, for never giving up on the belief that education is a basic civil right, and for giving millions of city students a fighting chance,” NY1 honored Robert as “New Yorker of the Year”.
In 2001, Robert Jackson was elected to the City Council – and was three times overwhelmingly re-elected by the voters of his upper Manhattan district. Because of his experience, commitment and leadership, he was chosen to Chair the Education Committee and Co-Chair the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
On the City Council, Jackson worked to make sure every child has the best education that we have to offer by helping to create more than 4,000 new openings for pre-k, fought to prevent thousands of teacher layoffs and helped start the Drop-Out Prevention Initiative. He worked to increase jobs and opportunities by sponsoring landmark NYC MWBE law, the Small Business Survival Act and helping create a community manpower training program cited as a national model by the Clinton Global Initiative. He passed increased immigrant services, was an earlier advocate for marriage equality and a leader combatting bullying. He fought for smart budget choices that kept senior centers, libraries and fire stations open. And he worked to make our neighborhoods safer by getting guns off the street through working with community groups, sponsoring Buy Back Programs and advocating for stronger state and federal legislation.
In 2015, Jackson was elected District Leader and help found the new, progressive, grassroots Democratic Club, Uptown Community Democrats. Born and raised in Manhattan, Robert and his family have lived in Washington Heights since 1975. He attended New York City public schools and graduated from State University of New York at New Paltz. He is married and a dedicated father of three daughters.