It was expected, but now it’s official.
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that he’s running for mayor.
Stringer joins an already crowded field of mayoral hopefuls including New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New School professor and former Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) Chair Maya Wiley and former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.
In his speech, Stringer wanted to provide hope to city residents who have suffered during the COVID-19 era.
“We also must recognize that there are thousands of workers who are not going back to their old jobs, because those jobs don’t exist anymore,” said Stringer. “We will confront that challenge head-on. New York, particularly now, has the foundation to become the life sciences and public health capital of the world. So let’s focus on training New Yorkers for those jobs—the health care and tele-health jobs… the design and engineering jobs… that were a growing part of our economy before, and will be again when I am mayor.”
Stringer tackled everything from reining in outside contracts to investing in small businesses (including minority and women-owned businesses) to “perpetuating a cycle of segregation” in the city’s neighborhoods. He also targeted a topic that concerns New Yorkers on a daily basis: housing.
The comptroller presented a universal affordable housing plan that would require 25% of new units in every new development in every neighborhood to be permanent affordable housing. Stringer wants to triple the number of apartments available for homeless families and create the first city-owned bank.
Stringer also said that he wanted to leverage city-owned vacant lots to build affordable housing.
“Mayor LaGuardia invented the first public housing in the 1930s, when the Great Depression was ravaging the nation,” said Stringer. “The Mitchell-Lama housing program in the ’50s and ’60s helped grow the middle-class, and gave working families an affordable place to live. Mayor Koch rebuilt entire neighborhoods in the ’80s––and reduced homelessness in the process.
“When I am mayor, we will end the crushing cycle of speculation, eviction and displacement. No more giving away the store to developers,” continued Stringer. “No more unaffordable affordable housing. We will put an end to the gentrification industrial complex and an end to policies that perpetuate a cycle of segregation in our neighborhoods and in our schools.”
During the time of Black Lives Matter protests and the recorded deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers, Stringer pledged to invest in communities that have been consistently criminalized and victimized. He also planned on moving the responsibility for non-criminal and social issues away from the police. “More than 20 years ago, I was arrested in an act of civil disobedience after the police murder of Amadou Diallo,” said Stringer. “Nearly a decade ago, I was one of the first elected officials who looked like me to speak out against stop-and-frisk. And as mayor, I will say to the NYPD what Bill de Blasio has not: ‘You work for the people of this city, and you are not an independent agency.’”
“None of this is at odds with keeping our neighborhoods safe,” said Stringer.
As for other members of the field, one other candidate announced her run this week as well.
Kathryn Garcia announced this week that she was resigning from her post as sanitation commissioner while criticizing her now former boss, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in the process. In her letter, the former vice chair of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) that the Department of Sanitation lost 400 workers and had a significant reduction of their budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
“At a time when protecting public health is of the essence, cutting basic sanitation services is unconscionable,” wrote Garcia. “This budget crisis is incredibly severe, but I am disappointed to see so much of the work we have done over the last six years being walked back. If, as is often said, budgets are a statement of values, my values require me to resign in the face of these cuts, which will harm New Yorkers.”
Maya Wiley said that she’s exploring a run, chatter assumes that she’s already dove into the waters, she’s served as de Blasio’s chief lawyer and is a professor and current senior vice president for Social Justice at The New School. She quit her job as a political pundit and commentator for MSNBC to focus on her potential run. If elected, Wiley would be the first Black woman (and woman overall) to serve as New York City’s mayor.
Adams has the name recognition and has already declared himself a “law and order” mayor while Johnson hopes his name recognition pulls him closer to the field.
As for Stringer, he’s focused on making sure the economy isn’t measured by Wall Street, but by main street.
Because, Stringer said, the measure of our success in recovering from this pandemic cannot be whether the Dow Jones continues to rise. The measure of our success must be, instead, whether we finally build a city for everyone.