A landslide of votes for Bill de Blasio has got him elected mayor of New York, the first Democrat in two decades. Largely, the overwhelming support came from citizens hungry for a shift away from policies that benefited the rich more than people with middle or low incomes.
He and spouse Chirlane McCray, a poet and social activist who used to only date women, have a son and daughter together, Chiara, 18, and Dante, 16. They also helped their dad’s campaign, which pointedly criticised outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg.
De Blasio said: “I think the people in this city know that so many New Yorkers are struggling just to make ends-meet and we need to make very serious progressive change, and move away from Bloomberg-era policies, and I’m ready to do it, and I need the support of New Yorkers to get it done.”
Twelve years under the Republican whom de Blasio is replacing saw New York develop economically, saw crime lower and tourism rise, but also saw inequality boom during that time – the wealth gap widen.
The city’s 8.3 million population includes 400,000 dollar millionaires and one million, seven hundred thousand poor people.
De Blasio has promised to fund pre-school from age four by raising taxes on annual incomes higher than the equivalent of 375,000 euros.
He is also committed to evening special education programmes and investing in neighbourhood hospitals, building 200,000 subsidised housing units and replacing the chief of police, curbing police stop-and-frisk practices that many people feel are based on racial profiling in a very multi-racial, multi-cultural metropolis.
Non-Hispanic whites make up one third of New York City, with Hispanics and African Americans and Asians far more numerous.
Bill de Blasio’s father was American of German origins but he was raised by his Italian-heritage mother, and he eventually chose her name as his. He did his B.A. at New York University, and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, focusing on Latin America.