Bill de Blasio has spent the past five-plus years as mayor of New York City. He was born in New York but grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He’s a Boston Red Sox fan but has a long political history in New York. De Blasio served as a city councilman and in the position of public advocate, the second-highest ranking office in the city, before becoming mayor in 2014. He also ran Hillary Clinton’s 2000 New York Senate campaign, though he later criticized her for not having a “clear, progressive, populist message” during the 2016 presidential election. His high school yearbook from 1979 identifies him as “future president of the U.S.A. — the Untied Sneakers Association.”
Here’s where de Blasio stands on some key issues in the 2020 election
Climate change: A Green New Deal for New York City
Last month de Blasio worked to pass a New York City version of the Green New Deal. After President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, de Blasio signed an executive order that committed New York City to upholding the international agreement.
The economy: Put working people first
In his presidential announcement video, de Blasio said “there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands.” As mayor, de Blasio has made income inequality a top issue. He raised the minimum wage of city workers to $15 an hour, which he claims paved the way for the minimum wage hike in the state of New York. The mayor also called for a millionaire’s tax in New York. On trade, de Blasio is against NAFTA and criticized the Trans Pacific Partnership, a large trade pact many Democrats backed under former President Barack Obama.
Education: Universal pre-K and education reform
One of de Blasio’s biggest accomplishments as mayor was the implementation of a universal pre-K program. About 70,000 New York City kids are now enrolled in the city’s pre-K system, up from roughly 20,000 before de Blasio took office. He also worked to reduce school suspensions, with mixed results. De Blasio has also drawn criticism for a failed education reform plan that cost more than $700 million.
Health care: A national single-payer healthcare plan
De Blasio believes everyone should be guaranteed the right to health care, including undocumented immigrants. He has repeatedly called for a national single-payer healthcare plan. De Blasio also signed a paid sick leave and safe leave plan into law, one of his signature accomplishments as mayor
Immigration: Backs protections for undocumented immigrants
As mayor, de Blasio pushed to make New York City a so-called “sanctuary city” that limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities. It’s a practice the Trump administration has vigorously opposed. He also announced a health care plan and created a city ID for undocumented immigrants. Under de Blasio, the city also sued the Trump administration when it attempted to withhold of federal grants that were tied to cooperation with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Criminal justice reform: Ending stop and frisk
As mayor, de Blasio greatly reduced the number of “stop and frisks” in the city, though the police practice still disproportionately affects young black and Latino men. He also signed the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which was aimed at changing how the city enforces low-level offenses. In 2018, New York City hit its lowest number of homicides in almost 70 years, a success the mayor frequently touts in talking about his record on crime. De Blasio has also backed efforts to eliminate the cash bail system.
Social issues: Supports abortion rights and LGBTQ health care
De Blasio has criticized laws across the country that put restrictions on abortion. And on LGBTQ issues, he has published an LGBTQ Healthcare Bill of Rights and also signed bills to allow people to list a third, non-binary gender on birth certificates. But some in the LGBTQ community have criticized him for not doing enough on police harassment.
Foreign policy: Links international issues with climate change and immigration
As mayor of New York City, de Blasio hasn’t spoken much about foreign affairs, but when he does, it’s usually through the lens of immigration and climate change. In 2012, while serving as public advocate of New York City, he urged New Yorkers to boycott automobile manufacturers who do business with Iran.