Bill Thompson wants to give voters a new direction (40227)

It’s a second time around for Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, and now, he says, there is an even playing field leading to a path to victory. With the mayoral race already in full swing, the former city comptroller is counting on a win for the 2013 race.

“Things are moving along well right now,” said Thompson, who is the only Black candidate in this year’s mayoral race. “We are staffing up and gearing up. I’ve been out there seven days a week, from early in the morning to late at night, moving across the city. The reception has been great. I think people are looking for change and someone who is going to stand up for all New Yorkers.”

His strategy: making it a point to reach out to those who have felt left out. This includes non-millionaires, the middle class and low-income New Yorkers. Thompson cites that for years now, New Yorkers have not had a mayor who was not looking out for them and that he’s the man for the job.

Looking back at 2009 during his last mayoral run, the former president of the Board of Education narrowly lost to current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is serving his third term, only losing by less than 5 percent of the vote. Since the loss, Thompson said he’s been working in the private sector while finding out what New Yorkers really want.

“I’ve been working and am really happy to have been working and talking to the people of the city,” he said. “Over the last few years, I served as a co-chair for Andrew Cuomo’s campaign for governor and out-campaigning other people across the state and city of New York.”

Thompson also served as chair of the Battery Park City Authority, chairing the governor’s MWBE task force and the judicial compensation task force. He said that in January of 2010, he decided to run for mayor again because the issues he fought for have gotten worse. Working families, education and affordable housing and stop-and-frisk are things that he felt have gotten worse.

Recent headlines have shown Thompson speaking to a variety of different groups. Along with the other mayoral hopefuls, he’s been mauling the various candidate forums and media appearances to grab the attention of voters, who should remember him from the last mayoral election.

“People don’t want dramatically different things,” he said. “They want a city they can afford to live in and to be able to live in a decent place. They want to make sure their children are receiving a quality education and have an opportunity to bring their children up in New York City. People want a decent job and to be paid a fair salary.”

One of his top priorities, fittingly, is education. Thompson wants to focus on what public schools could be doing. He called the fact that 80 percent of high school students are unprepared for college a “failure.” Thompson recently testified regarding 22 school closures at the helm of Bloomberg.

“That’s a horrible admission of failure,” he said. “Giving up on our communities and giving up on our neighborhoods–it’s a mistake.”

Housing is another focus for Thompson, particularly NYCHA. He pointed out the thousands of vacant apartments and money for renovations that isn’t being used. He also referenced the damage done by Hurricane Sandy and those in public housing who were left behind in terms of repairs during the aftermath.

When it comes to the NYPD, Thompson said that the misuse of stop-and-frisk is also something that continues to antagonize communities and he plans to take it on.

“You can see the possibility of real change for the city of New York and making it a better city,” he said. “Bringing people together, that’s what’s going to help me win. I think I am a better candidate in 2013 than I was in 2009.”

Thompson’s competition is a parade of heavy hitters in the city’s Democratic Party. The primary alone predicts that he will face off with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. This year’s campaign makes for a more even playing field as opposed to 2009, when Bloomberg spent $120 million to become mayor.

“What separates me from the others is a lifetime of experience,” Thompson said. “My experience in city government, the federal level and education–I think what makes me the strongest candidate is my background, the experience of a number of years working on a number of different levels, being able to lead this city with a strong vision.”

When it comes to the Black community, Thompson said because he is Black, he already has an understanding of what the issues are. However, on a personal level, education, affordable housing and unemployment are things he plans to fight for that are already fixtures in his campaign for all residents and that particularly affect the city’s Black population.

“I’m going to be out around the clock up to the primary, up to the election,” Thompson said. “You are going to see hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers across the city talking about a message, talking about a different direction for the city of New York. That’s how you win an election … a movement to take New York City in a more inclusive direction.”