I arrived in New York City in 1985 with $400 in my pocket and a belief that in this city anything was possible. I never stopped believing in a New York City that embraces and serves us all: people of every color, of every origin, of every gender.
We are a city of people who know that struggle should create possibilities. But, for most of us, we are a city of dreams deferred, of dreams that slipped between our fingers, of dreams laid to rest. And that was before COVID and the resulting economic crisis laid bare our problems. If we allow the status quo to continue, the past’s vicious cycles will return with even greater ferocity.
For over 30 years I have been part of building possibilities for small businesses, for students, and for young entrepreneurs. My candidacy is a natural continuation of that work. Most recently, I was the Co-creator of NYC Votes, technology that improves access to local elections for voters and candidates. And, still I continue to be increasingly alarmed as the City’s fabric strains from the lack of economic, racial and social equity and justice. That fabric is now breaking from the pandemic and resulting economic crisis, made far worse by poor leadership. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking used to create them.” Different thinking is needed. I bring different thinking and I can help New Yorkers make real change.
I entered the race for Mayor of NYC because I am alarmed by the extent and trajectory of New York City’s crises. Not one of the other candidates seem to fully appreciate the scope and complexity of the problems that lie ahead, nor do they have the breadth of experience required to tackle them. I don’t believe I have all the answers; someone in this great City does. Together, we can create an equitable city where everyone can thrive.
How do we thrive? By focusing our energy on three aspects of everyday life: Jobs, Families and Communities. Individual issues like housing, transit, and safety matter. We must remember that these issues are all enveloped in a world where there are jobs, healthy families, and strong, vibrant communities. I believe that we need:
- More jobs for New Yorkers in more industries, with real living wages. We will ensure small business survival, growth and excellence. We will make New York City the best place to start a business.
- More support for families. We will create Universal Childcare, more flexible transportation options, quality public education and stronger protections and social safety nets.
- Stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities. We will deliver services where most needed in the amounts needed, expand access to public health resources, build truly affordable housing, reduce crime and making right the relationship between the police and all of us, transitioning to a carbon-free future, planning for rising sea levels, greening city streets, and supporting arts and culture.
We will achieve these goals by working with the many diverse groups of leaders, activists and thinkers around NYC. I am asking New Yorkers to reach out to me, share your ideas and help me to do what I do best: make change in the world.
The next Mayor needs proven experience thinking differently across the breadth of government services and experience in technology, finance and management to support that. For nearly 35 years, I provided the tools and built the solutions to help change this City. Here are a short-list of my qualifications:
- I know how to create a government that’s more transparent, accountable and able to respond to the rapidly changing needs of society. I know how to organize and motivate people to do that.
- I know how to build the city: In the 1990s, I helped realize Queens West, the nation’s first planned digital live-work community, and worked to re-envision libraries as the onramp to digital literacy.
- I know how to recognize and build on the groundbreaking work of others: In the 1990s, I worked to protect and promote Safe Horizon’s pioneering Child Advocacy Centers and their integrated delivery of more positive outcomes for child sexual abuse victims.
- In the 2000s, when experts urged tech startups to move to Silicon Valley, I convinced Silicon Valley startup Pivotal Labs to come here, where they thrived and later went public.
- In the 2010s, when the NYC tech community needed more software engineers, I helped create an onramp for CUNY students for those opportunities.
- I led the creation of NYC Votes, an app-based program that provided online information for NYC voters and smoothed the path to running for office for all candidates.
- And throughout, I looked for and created innovative technology solutions to help New York City’s key industries: fashion, retail, music, television, healthcare, and finance.
This is not a career change for me. At each phase, my goal has been to help others. I have been a waiter, carpenter, startup founder, finance executive, and public servant. While others are using the Mayoral race to create a bigger stage for themselves, I’m running this race to build the technology, economic and cultural infrastructure required for every New Yorker to live with dignity. Let’s change this city together and make our dreams possible.