Bill de Blasio
While Bill de Blasio’s tenure as mayor has been disputed by his many opponents, the former city public advocate and City Council member ran on lifting up the city’s middle and working class. Since he took office, he has set up Pre-K for All, funded numerous Queens infrastructure projects, raised the minimum wage and reduced the use of stop-and-frisk while working with the city’s Police Department to bring down crime rates across the city.
But his opponents will point out his inability—so far—to solve the homeless crisis and criticize his decision to place the homeless in hotels in primarily communities of color and middle-and working-class neighborhoods. His efforts to increase the city’s affordable housing have been critiqued as not going far enough, while his relationship with the NYPD has been tenuous at best.
Still, De Blasio has headed into election season with a lead in the polls. His total opposition to President Donald Trump on virtually all major issues has fared well with New York City’s historically left-leaning voter base, and most members of his party across the city and state have backed him for another four years in Gracie Mansion.
Mayoral candidate Richard Bashner has said that he has lost faith in New York City’s leaders. The attorney turned politician hopes to bring integrity back to New York City leadership with a focus on transparency, public safety and a progressive quality of life.
Bashner said that his strengths rely on an understanding of community issues. He has served on Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 for nearly two decades. With that experience, he wants to ensure that lower-and middle-class neighborhoods are protected from overzealous real estate developers who threaten to change the character of communities across the five boroughs.
Bashner has said that he will focus on bringing the city into the 21st century by building upon technology infrastructure as well as protecting all New York City residents from the policies of President Donald Trump.
Former Brooklyn City Council member and teacher Sal Albanese has run for mayor numerous times. This time however, Albanese is running on what he perceives to be the shortcomings of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Albanese says that he has a better idea of what middle–class New Yorkers are facing and isn’t beholden to “pay to play.” Albanese has cited his track record in City Council legislation.
Although many of the city’s mass transit woes fall upon the state, Albanese vows to be a “mass transit mayor.” He promises to allocate $1 billion towards subway repairs–tripling the city’s current contributions–as well as frequent the rails himself to understand commuters’ everyday experiences first–hand.
Finally, Albanese wants to overhaul affordable housing. He, like many of de Blasio’s critics in the City Council, contends that current affordable housing efforts do not go far enough. Albanese wants to see a lower entry point into housing pricing as well as more individualized housing plans for the different communities of the city.
Michael Tolkin is positioning himself as a “big ideas” candidate in the mayoral race. From flying buses to robotic horse and carriages, Tolkin hopes to make New York City the technology proving ground, setting an example for the rest of the country to follow.
The self-made tech entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “problem solver” hopes to bring a more practical and forward-thinking approach to Gracie Mansion. He admits that he is not well versed in the political realm, but wants to do his part in making the city in which he lives a better place by bringing new ideas to the table that other candidates would write off. He has said that he would do this by assembling a diverse team of experts in numerous fields who can create a large-scale plan that would upgrade the quality of life in the city.
In addition to future-proofing the city with new transit initiatives, Tolkin wants to improve the city’s economy, job growth and education. Tolkin says that he wants to invest in the future of New York and solve issues with a clean break from policies that don’t work, and start fresh towards solutions that will be sustainable for the long term.
City Council District 24
Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) has held office in Queens’ 24th Council District—which covers Briarwood, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills and Richmond Hill—since 2014. Prior to that.
He was an assemblyman for the 25th Assembly District from 2007 to 2012.
A Queens native and graduate of Queens College, Lancman is the chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Courts and Legal Services and is deeply involved in issues regarding criminal justice. Recently, Lancman introduced legislation requiring the NYPD to report the number of people it arrests or issues summonses to for evading subway fares. The bill aims to address reports that nearly 90 percent of those arrested and given misdemeanor offenses, as opposed to receiving summonses, were black or Latino.
Lancman has also called for the closing of Rikers Island and praised the city’s decision to dismiss low-level arrest warrants issued 10 or more years ago.
Lancman has also been involved in the ongoing strike by cable workers against Charter Communications. In June, he defended the striking workers and accused Charter of using out-of-state contractors in violation of its franchise agreement with the city.
City Council District 24
Mohammad Rahman was originally born in Bangladesh and has lived in Jamaica for more than 30 years. He obtained a master’s degree in psychology while he lived in Bangladesh and spent 20 years working at the New York City Department of Social Services.
He said that his top issue in the campaign for the District 24 seat—which covers Briarwood, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills and Richmond Hill—is public safety, especially when it comes to new immigrants, and will work closely with the local precinct community council, precinct commander and community affairs officers to address safety issues.
Rahman’s platform rests on the idea that the district has been represented by “career politicians who are part of the problem, not part of the solution,” and that he will be able to change that. He hopes to carve out more funding for Queens’ immigrant seniors, whom he believes have not been provided with adequate services.
Rahman also promises to ensure that the district’s South Asian community is fairly served and charged his opponent, Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), with not doing enough. If elected, Rahman would be the council’s first South Asian Muslim lawmaker.
Rahman has two sons with his wife, Sadia.
City Council District 32
Michael Scala is a Democratic primary contender for City Council District 32, which covers Woodhaven, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and the Rockaways. He works as an attorney and lives in the Rockaways.
When he announced his candidacy in the spring, Scala said that he plans to focus on holding the city more accountable to communities and “preventing the warehousing of homeless families without input from local leaders and elected officials.”
His other campaign priorities include working toward better education options in his district and healthcare access.
Scala has noted that he wants a thorough investigation of the Build It Back program, which aided in the distribution of funds to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
He has referred to the Rockaways as a “dumping ground” for homeless shelters and has argued for after-school programs in coding, learning to work computers and other “21st-century skills,” as well as practical school curricula, such as civics.
He previously worked in the legal department of New York State United Teachers and for the healthcare nonprofit National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. He served as legal counsel and a legislative director in the state Senate.
City Council District 32
William Ruiz is a Democratic Primary contender in Council District 32, which covers Woodhaven, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and the Rockaways. He is a property manager and housing advocate and lives in Ozone Park.
Ruiz has stated that the Rockaways are overburdened with homeless shelters and the city’s use of hotels to house the homeless.
Ruiz is also passionate about creating affordable housing for working families in the district. He believes that the city needs to create more school and tutoring programs for children of working families, so that they can compete in a world with advancing technologies. Ruiz also wants to focus on after-school programs, especially for parents struggling with childcare.
He is also concerned that the city’s Police Department does not have modern equipment to enable officers to do their jobs and keep the district safe.
Ruiz is the former chairman of the Board of Directors for Highland Park Community Development, a former Community Board 5 member, member of the Democratic Club 38th A.D., vice president of the Liberty Homeowners Association and member of the Brooklyn North Democratic Club.