Michael Alexander Blake is a Visiting Distinguished Urbanist and Adjunct Professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He was born and raised in The Bronx, New York and is a son of Jamaican immigrants.
Michael is serving in his third term as a New York State Assembly Member representing the 79th District in The Bronx, New York. Michael is also a candidate for U.S. Congress - 15th District in New York.
Blake helped lead the efforts to create the first and only statewide My Brother's Keeper education program in the country, now totaling more than $56 million in three years. Moreover, Blake helped lead the charge to Raise The Age of criminal responsibility so that 16 and 17 year olds are not tried as adults in criminal court, increased funding for New York City public housing, continued to fund Diversity in Medicine medical scholarships, and had his signature piece of legislation signed into law for Small, Minority, and Women owned Business Enterprises with less than 300 employees who contract with New York state get paid in 15 days instead of 30.
Blake is a Vice Chair at Large of the Democratic National Committee helping lead efforts in engaging with millennials, communities of color, local elected candidates and training. Blake has traveled to 31 states and to Japan since the DNC election in February 2017 and participated in activities ranging from candidate trainings to mobilizing base communities across the country.
Blake is a new Five Year Term Member fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow. He is a national Honorary Co-Chair of the New Leaders Council, which has trained more than 7,000 millennials in progressive policies and political organizing. He is a licensed minister in the United Methodist Church and African Methodist Episcopal church. Blake is on the board for iVOTE, served as a 2016 Resident fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics and recently was an advisory board member for the My Brother's Keeper Alliance. Blake is a proud alum of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
In early 2007, Blake joined then Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign as the Iowa Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director. In his 20 month campaign tenure, Blake concluded as the Michigan Deputy State Director for the general election. After the election, Blake joined the White House staff as the Associate Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs coordinating outreach to the African American, Minority and Women Business Enterprises and state and county elected official communities. Blake left the White House to serve as the National Deputy Director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election and helped expand the diverse electorate that later re-elected the president, leading to historic turnout among constituencies nationwide.
Given the continual changing dynamics in urban environments, policy and politics in cities must have game changing impact. How do we ensure that reality in an ever shifting climate given racial, gender, economic and societal changes? This course explores the opportunities, challenges and solutions for governing New York City, promoting equity and social justice, while providing measurable impact. Delivering quality public services and driving large-scale change initiatives is made all the more challenging because of the complex array of stakeholders and institutions that impact the life of New York City, but, we practically lay out how to create solutions thrive in a smart, urban city. This course will be led by Michael Blake, who serves as a third term New York State Assembly Member, Vice Chair at large of the Democratic National Committee, and is a former White House and campaign aide to President Barack Obama. In this course, we will explore how public servants successfully effect change, and consider the roles of the state, federal and city government, business leaders, community groups, the press, and other citizens play in enacting generational change in our urban communities.