‘A City for Everyone’

Stringer launches campaign for mayor, staking claim to the Democratic Party’s left in 2021 primary

11 Sep 2020 | 10:07

As he formally launched his campaign for mayor of New York City Tuesday morning, City Comptroller Scott Stringer vowed to “bring leadership back to City Hall” in a speech contrasting Stringer’s platform with the perceived failures of the de Blasio administration.

Serving as the city’s top fiscal watchdog since 2013, Stringer made the case that he would be the right candidate to lead New York out of a multi-billion dollar deficit while also addressing the housing, economic and racial inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The virus exposed how we left large swaths of this city on their own. The fact is, we never closed the book on a tale of two cities. If anything over the last eight years, we’ve written more chapters,” Stringer said at his campaign event in Inwood Park, near his childhood home. “That is why with a belief that we can and we must bring leadership back to City Hall and build a city for everyone, today I am announcing my candidacy for mayor of the greatest city in the world, New York.”

Stringer was joined by a slew of elected officials from across the city who endorsed his candidacy, including state senators Alessandra Biaggi, Brian Kavanagh, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar, and assembly members Al Taylor, Yuh-Line Niou, Catalina Cruz, Linda Rosenthal and Robert Carroll. With the support of notable progressives, it’s clear Stringer is staking claim to the Democratic Party’s left in next year’s primary election.

Policy Agenda

In his speech, he spelled out part of his policy agenda, all of which he framed as part of creating “a city for everyone.” He said he would ensure the wealthiest in the city pay their fair share of taxes and would implement a universal affordable housing plan to require that 25 percent of new developments in every neighborhood are permanent affordable housing. He said he also planned to triple the number of apartments available for homeless families.

“We’re going to create the city’s first-ever land bank and leverage more than a thousand city on properties to build housing that working people can actually afford,” said Stringer. “We will put an end to the gentrification industrial complex and end policies that perpetuate a cycle of segregation in our neighborhoods, and in our schools.”

In his most blistering rebuke of the current mayor, Stringer called out de Blasio’s handling of this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and police violence.

“The mayor and the police commissioner repeatedly excuse the inexcusable, defended the indefensible, and failed to take responsibility for violence against New Yorkers,” said Stringer. “That ends the day I’m sworn in as mayor.”

The comptroller said his administration would usher in a “paradigm shift” in the city’s approach to policing and keeping neighborhoods safe. Stringer said the city would move much of the responsibility of handling non-criminal and social issues away from the NYPD and invest those resources in neighborhoods that he said have been “criminalized and victimized.” Additionally, he said he would hold police officers accountable.

“I feel enormous gratitude for those who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our people safe,” he said. “And so my promise to the men and women of the NYPD is that when I’m mayor, I will honor their service while working to ensure that their service is worthy of honor.”

Crowded Field

Though Stringer is the first sitting elected official to formally declare his candidacy, the field is sure to become crowded.

On the same day as Stringer’s announcement, Kathryn Garcia, the city’s Sanitation Commissioner, resigned from her post in order to contemplate a run for mayor. As noted in the report from the New York Times, who broke the story, Garcia is known as a dependable problem solver in City Hall.

If she runs, Garcia could join two other former de Blasio administration officials in the mayoral contest. It’s been reported that Maya Wiley, a former counsel to the mayor who has become well known through her work as a Legal Affairs analyst at MSNBC, has formed a campaign committee to explore a run for mayor. Notably, Wiley chaired the city’s police oversight agency for about a year. And, already in the race, is Loree Sutton, the city’s former Veteran’s Affairs commissioner. Sutton announced her campaign way back in November of last year.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams both have been raising money in anticipation of launching campaigns. Former Bloomberg and Obama administration official, Shaun Donovan, is also expected to run for the office.

For the first time, the Democratic Primary will be decided using ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the ballots will be re-counted, the last place candidate will be eliminated and the votes from those ballots will be counted for candidate the voters picked as their second choice. The process continues until one candidate gains the majority of votes.

In such a crowded field, ranked-choice voting could give long-shot contenders a real chance.

“The virus exposed how we left large swaths of this city on their own. The fact is, we never closed the book on a tale of two cities. If anything over the last eight years, we’ve written more chapters.” Comptroller Scott Stringer