Don’t try telling Washington Heights politician Mark Levine that white officeholders have become extinct in northern Manhattan. He might take it personally.
Currently, none of its 11 legislators is white. But it’s not for want of trying by Levine. He’s run twice in 10 years without success, and is thinking of trying again.
Levine, 41, is a personable, yuppie type, well-educated (with a bachelor’s from Haverford College and a master’s from Harvard University) and with a solid history of community service. That includes founding Credit Where Credit Is Due, Inc., the Washington Heights-based community credit union that has helped thousands of low-income residents.
He’s Chicago-born, raised in Columbia, Md., by a doctor father and a mother who worked in mental health care. He first came to New York City in 1991, with the Teach for America corps, to teach for two years at a since-closed junior high in the South Bronx.
He and his wife, Ivelisse, have two sons, who attend a local public school. His wife, who was born in Puerto Rico, is a senior examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City. Levine, who is Jewish, also speaks fluent Spanish and Hebrew.
Politically, he has been a Democratic district leader since 2007, founded the Barack Obama Democratic Club in 2009 and lost his second bid for office just last fall.
Check out our Politicking with the People post with Mark Levine: http://uptowncollective.com/2010/08/19/politickin-with-the-people-mark-levine-the-recap/