WATCH: One-on-One with NYC Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer
By Lynda Lopez, WCBS Newsradio 880
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — City Comptroller Scott Stringer got a boost in the mayor’s race this week with an endorsement from the United Federation of Teachers.
Stringer has been in New York City politics for about three decades, but has struggled to gain momentum.
He tells anchor Lynda Lopez for this week’s 880 Weekly Rewind that he believes his government experience is a critical advantage in leading the city’s economic recovery, reopening schools and jump-starting the city’s culture and entertainment.
“I’m good to go if the voters will have me, these are very serious issues. We cannot get this wrong and don’t need a mayor, or can afford a mayor on training wheels who has no experience working in government, understanding that we have to navigate Washington, Albany and City Hall,” Stringer said. “We need a mayor who can build real affordable housing, we need a mayor who’s going to invest in the education of all our children, not just some, we need a mayor who understands the health disparities that COVID brought to bear and has a plan to address those issues and no one in this race has my government experience and my progressive agenda that can bring the city back to life, bring the city back to life open the economy differently than we closed it.”
A recent NY1/IPSOS poll showed Stringer rising to third place behind Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in the mayoral race just two months ahead of the primaries.
“I think momentum is clearly coming our way because I have a real vision for how to open this economy, how we’re going to put people back to work, bring New York City back to life and I’ve got the skills to do it,” Stringer said. “I have the experience, I’m ready on day one.”
The poll finds COVID, crime and affordable housing matter most to New Yorkers when it comes to choosing the next mayor, but with the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd this week, racial justice and police reform are top of mind for many people around the country.
Stringer called it a “verdict in the interest of justice,” but said this is not a time for celebration.
“While we did see justice in the case, we have so much more to do and the next mayor has to be at the epicenter of this,” Stringer said. “It’s time now to think about a police department that believes in one standard of justice, does not overpolice Black and Brown communities.”
He would make police reform a priority and has developed a public safety plan that would allow the police to catch dangerous criminals, but also reimagine how to better respond to 911 calls involving mental health, quality of life and wellness issues.
“We cannot have the same department making the same mistakes over and over again,” Stringer said. “We need to focus police on doing police work and we need to focus city government on making sure that we have a different response to people who have mental health issues, a different response when it comes to working with our young people, we need more mentors and violence interrupters in communities to work with our children, to keep them out of the criminal justice system. Right now, we have a status quo situation in New York City and other cities are starting to think differently about how we can create a public safety plan. I have a public safety plan that I’ll put into effect on day one, but this is a conversation that cannot end with the George Floyd verdict, it has to be an ongoing discussion about how to bring justice to our streets and also make sure New Yorkers are safe. We have to understand that we can do both and we must do both.”
Stringer is also concerned learning loss will have a dire impact on school children in low-income neighborhoods.
“The first thing we have to do is make sure our kids will get the tutoring services they need, the mental health services they need. My kids have gone through a very tough year but their mom and dad have a certain amount of privilege that can deal with these issues, I worry about the kids in homeless shelters and the kids in public housing who didn’t have remote learning devices or didn’t have internet access. The next mayor’s got to level the playing field for these children and I can’t wait to get started fighting for every one of our kids,” Stringer said.
Stringer, a parent of two New York City public school students, said he would immediately meet with principals, teachers and parents to get kids back in classrooms.
Stringer said he will also prioritize reopening small businesses and providing them economic assistance to help bring the city back from the devastation of the pandemic. He believes the next mayor must focus the recovery on the middle class and the working poor.
Hear deeper analysis of the top stories of the week and original reporting on The 880 Weekly Rewind hosted by Lynda Lopez Friday nights at 7 PM on WCBS-AM New York. Listen to this week’s full show, produced by Neil A. Carousso, on the media player above.