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Profile of Bill de Blasio - New York's first Democrat mayor in two decades

Profile of Bill de Blasio - New York's first Democrat mayor in two decades
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Bill de Blasio, aged 52, stands out for more than his physical size; the almost-two-metre-tall Italian-American, well-anchored towards the left of the Democratic party, was swept into the office of mayor.

Married to African-American activist and poet Chirlane McCray, the couple have two children. De Blasio has gathered together a coalition of support that includes women’s groups, Asian minorities and Hispanic and black voters.

In the run up to the election De Blasio said: “New York city is a city of families and neighbourhoods – progress that knows that we must be a city of opportunity for all.”

With a programme dedicated to middle earners in the US city with the most inequality, de Blasio gained a sizable lead on his Republican contender Joe Lhota. Lhota tried to make out that the Democrat would make concessions on safety which would lead to a rise in crime, but it didn’t work.

De Blasio has often criticised outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg’s law and order policies, like stop-and-frisk practices by the New York police.

New Yorkers are more concerned about other things. No other city has such a high concentration of billionaires along with people living on the edge of poverty.

The income threshold for this is pegged at the equivalent of 23,000 euros for a family of four. More than one in every five New Yorkers live at this level.

De Blasio proposes has raising taxes on incomes above 375,000 euros (equivalent) per year, and a lot of people support this.

New York voter Tanya Pettis said: “I think de Blasio will be in our best interest. He looked like he’s more interested in what the people need and, you know, the schools and everything. Lhota seems like he’s not so much interested in the common person, the middle class. Nobody’s really helping the middle class. There isn’t any middle class anymore.”

De Blasio wants kindergarten from age four for everyone, and evening outside-school programmes, and he wants to build 200,000 socially-subsidised housing units – to be paid for out of an already stretched Big Apple annual budget of 52 billion euros – and shine a light on equality and liberty.