Bill de Blasio Launches Run for Mayor

By Jill Colvin on January 27, 2013 6:33pm | Updated on January 27, 2013 6:37pm

PARK SLOPE — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio officially launched his bid for mayor Sunday, surrounded by dozens of supporters in Park Slope.

Standing in front of his home with his wife, Chirlane, and his son, Dante, de Blasio said he was running to provide a voice to everyday New Yorkers who've felt shut out by the current administration.

"We deserve a city government that actually believes in our neighborhoods," said de Blasio, who vowed to build a government "of and for and by our neighborhoods."

"Today, here on my block in Brooklyn, I proudly declare my candidacy for mayor of New York," he said.

De Blasio argued that, after 12 years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city is ready for a new approach that empowers parents, prioritizes community voices, and treats all boroughs equally.

"In my City Hall, all five boroughs will matter," said de Blasio, who slammed Bloomberg and the "elitists at City Hall" for putting the interests of the wealthy first and neglecting the needs of everyday New Yorkers.

"This mayor's policies have been very good for some in our city, but so many middle class New Yorkers have been ignored and priced out," he said, pointing to the growing poverty rate.

"Is it any wonder that average citizens feel overshadowed?" he asked the crowd.

De Blasio, who formerly served as a City Councilman and a federal housing official, stressed his role as a public school parent and his background volunteering on the local school board.

He noted that he would be the only mayor in recent history to serve with young children in public schools, and promised a more inclusive approach, where parents are treated as partners when it comes to their education.

And while he praised Bloomberg's efforts to improve public health, snuff out smoking, and pass immigration reform, he vowed to improve the way the city deals with small businesses, bolster affordable housing, and reform the controversial stop-and-frisk policy to improve community relations with police.

The mayoral hopeful also took swings against his two chief Democratic rivals: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Bloomberg's 2009 rival, Bill Thompson.

"There are some who believe that Mayor Bloomberg's policies from the past 12 years just need to be tweaked here and there and that his vision should continue more or less uninterrupted for the next four years," he said, presumably referring to Quinn, who has not yet formally declared her run.

"There are others who practice a politics of the moment, who are heroic in election years, but not engaged in the day-to-day fight to save our neighborhoods when their names aren't on the ballot," he said, presumably a shot at Thompson.

Among the supporters in the crowd was former "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon, who praised de Blasio's approach, especially when it comes to public schools.

"I think that the way the voice of parents has just been completely shut out is a disaster for the schools," said Nixon, who was there with her wife, and her wife's parents, as well as their young son.

"You don't want public school parents to feel shut out. You want them to feel like they're there, making an impact," she said.

But there was also a potential rival.

As de Blasio greeted supporters, his son Dante, 15, who helped introduced his father, began to ask whether there was a minimum age for running for mayor.

"I might split off on [my own] campaign," he joked.

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