Standing with his wife and son in his front yard in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, officially announced his candidacy for mayor Sunday afternoon.
He told the hundreds of supporters cheering in the cold that they can’t allow their voices to be stifled.
“All boroughs were created equal and all our residents matter,” he said.
In his speech, de Blasio, 51, explained that he has served his neighbors and the city based on three principles he plans to take with him to the mayor’s office: by focusing on the needs of families, by protecting the neighborhoods and by guarding the people from the power of moneyed interests.
Chirlane McCray, de Blasio’s wife, introduced him to the crowd as an “outer borough working dad, a public school parent, a life-long progressive reformer and a leader who champions New York as the city of neighborhoods and families.” During his speech de Blasio echoed those sentiments describing himself as an everyday man who, if elected, would be a mayor for the everyday man.
“Never in recent history has a NYC mayor served while having a child in our public schools,” he said. “Well, I intend to rewrite that history this year.”
De Blasio joins City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, former city comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. and former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota and others in this year’s race for Democratic nomination to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Echoing speeches and opinions de Blasio has expressed in the past, he outlined his priorities for if he were to be elected mayor as improving public education, including early education and after school programs; aiding small-business owners and employing more people. He also mentioned the need to overhaul the stop-and-frisk policy, and he vowed to cater to New Yorkers who feel that their “voice doesn’t matter.”
When he brought up Mayor Bloomberg who is in the final year of his third term, de Blasio had to wait for the “booing” to subside. However, he finished to cheers as he told his supporters that the city deserves a mayor who will take the problems of the average citizen personally and seriously.
“Together we will build a better New York for all,” he said.
Fiona Maazel, a creative writing professor at Columbia, stood in the crowd to show her support for the newest candidate to enter the New York City mayoral race. She said that de Blasio’s candidacy will turn this year’s mayoral race in to a rat race.
“I just think it is going to be a tough fight. I thought Quinn was going to be a shoe in, but I feel like de Blasio probably throws a monkey wrench into her plans,” she said. “And I don’t know that anyone is going to vote for the ex-MTA chairman,”
Lynn Radov, 64, a psychotherapist, who served as de Blasio’s first treasurer when he ran for City Council, listened to his announcement with a sign in her hand and a smile on her face. She said she thinks de Blasio is the best option for New York City’s mayor.
“He is a very down to earth guy who is very in touch with the people,” she said. “He listens to them and responds to them, and he is the only one who we be able to save the school system.”