Basil Smikle Jr. is a Distinguished Lecturer of Politics and Public Policy at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies and a Political Strategist, with a PhD in Politics and Education from Columbia University. He is a familiar face on CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets where frequent appearances highlight his insights on electoral politics and public policy. Basil was most recently the Executive Director of the New York Democratic Party during which time he was the “second highest ranking Democrat” in the State and currently lectures at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and Teachers College.
As Executive Director of the Democratic Party, he worked closely with the Chair, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and Governor Andrew Cuomo to manage strategic and fundraising activities for the State, which included fundraising and oversight of a multi-million-dollar operating budget. He recruited candidates for political office and worked closely with the Democratic National Committee to create partnerships, engage donors and act as surrogate for local and national media outlets.
Recognized as a staunch advocate for public service and education equity, he is part of the next generation of thinkers and policy advocates. Basil was featured in the L.A. Times as “Harlem’s New Political Elite”. City Hall Magazine once named him one of 50 rising stars in New York Politics. United States Senator Cory Booker called him a “much sought-after consultant”. Rev. Sharpton called him an “impressive speaker”; Former Governor David Paterson noted that Basil is a “national caliber political operative”.
He gained national attention for his reforms in education and government. An early profile in the Wall Street Journal led to a feature in a New York Magazine cover story on the next generation of African American leaders. The New York Daily News called Basil a “fresh thinking…school reformer”. The New York Post “enthusiastically” said “New York needs such vibrant leadership”.