The Spectator NYC Mayoral Endorsement
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The pandemic in New York City is almost over. The majority of adult New Yorkers are fully vaccinated and free to return to business as usual. School will be in person next September, restaurants are back, and sporting events are nearing full capacity. However, the city itself has a long road to recovery. As NYC faces fiscal, housing, transportation, population, education, crime, and policing crises, the next mayor is responsible for getting the city back on its feet. The Democratic primary on June 22 will decide the outcome of one of the most pivotal mayoral elections in recent history. As the primary will be ranked-choice, The Spectator Editorial Board has decided to provide a secondary endorsement.
Every mayoral candidate has a progressive vision for the future of New York. Each one is not content to just return to the pre-pandemic normal and understand that the status quo needs massive improvement. While candidates vary slightly on policy, they all seek a more affordable, prosperous, and equitable city. Thus, the critical question becomes which candidate can actually execute his or her vision, follow through on promises, run a massive bureaucracy, and navigate our tense political climate to make tough calls. Of the 13 Democratic candidates, Kathryn Garcia is the clear answer.
A Stuyvesant alumna (‘88) and lifelong New Yorker, Garcia has a plethora of experience working as a civil servant. For the past 14 years, she has served as Commissioner of the Sanitation Department, rising at dawn to guarantee clean water through city taps and streets free of trash. Beyond daily city maintenance, Garcia knows how to resurrect New York after major city catastrophes. Garcia served as incident commander during Hurricane Sandy in 2013, establishing 42 pumping stations and a water waste treatment plant in only three days. Garcia confronted a citywide crisis once again during the pandemic when she responded to a city-wide hunger crisis by creating an emergency food program that has now delivered over 200 million meals to those in need. Her leadership in sanitation and city maintenance embodies the administrative skills necessary for running the largest city in the nation.
Additionally, Garcia’s plans address not only how to get the city back to its former strength, but how to make it even stronger. New York City will face many problems in the coming years––the continued effects of climate change, a housing crisis, and countless other challenges––but Garcia is prepared to confront these issues. Garcia will move the city to a fully renewable energy economy, green every single school roof, and double the number of green jobs in the city. Garcia’s approach to housing is equally comprehensive. Her program will address the housing crisis by accelerating the construction of new housing units, which will help give the homeless permanent places to live rather than week-long shelters. Garcia’s long-term approach to housing speaks to her larger philosophy: she finds fixes that work not just now, but also later.
Other candidates might have more audacious plans, but plans are worthless without competent follow-through. Garcia understands what can and cannot be done in a city with limited resources and how to realistically accomplish ambitious progressive goals. Despite the disagreements New Yorkers have about our government, they can all agree on one thing: we need a better one. And of all of the 13 candidates, Kathryn Garcia has proved time and time again that she has the tenacity, competence, and vision to truly better this city.
Eric Adams, while the least progressive of the Democratic candidates, deserves consideration in the race. Adams is highly qualified, serving as a NYPD captain, a legislator in the New York State Senate, and the first Black Brooklyn Borough President. He emphasizes law and order while understanding the need for systemic change within the police department. Adams promises to keep the city safe in the face of the recent spike in crime rates and make systematic changes to root out inequalities that even he himself has experienced. Additionally, he understands the need for education reform. Instead of keeping the SHSAT exam, he is proposing a new model for the NYC school system that includes expanding the number of specialized high schools across the city that would consider students on their academic profiles in addition to the SHSAT. He is calling for an education system that starts preparing students for success as early as elementary school and will help propel them into the city’s elite high schools, with test preparatory services provided to any student who cannot afford them.