Former inmate, Eddie Gibbs, defeated Republican Benjamine Carreras for a seat in the 68th Assembly district. This move came after Bibbs won a special election on Wednesday. Gibbs is now the first formerly incarcerated person elected to the state Assembly.
Gibbs represented East Harlem and Randalls Island, winning about 80% of the vote. According to the state Board of Elections, Gibbs walked away with 896 votes.
The state Assemble seat became open after former assemblyman Robert Rodriguez stepped down to become Gov. Hochul’s secretary of state. Gibbs will now fill that seat.
“I feel the weight of history and the need to be a role model for all the kids out there who might be struggling like I was,” Gibbs said on Thursday. “My win is bigger than just me — I’m showing formerly incarcerated people that a better path is possible for them.”
Although Gibbs pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1988 and served four years in prison, during a recent interview with city&stateny.com, he said his actions were in self-defense. In the interview, Gibbs voiced remorse for his crime.
“This guy attacked me. I was defending myself. I turned myself in. I didn’t hide from the police. I walked to the precinct, and I turned myself in,” he said. “I gave a statement right then and there. I was given three years. A plea. I think because of the remorse I was showing and mitigating circumstances, I was given that lenient sentence.”
While in prison, Gibbs earned an associate’s degree in business. He became known in the hip-hop scene when he performed standup comedy and rap songs with Biggie Smalls and Big L.
As a campaign operative, Gibbs handled the get-out-and-vote drive for a few elected officials such as Mayor Eric Adams and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.