Updated Sep 20, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Bill de Blasio on the issues, in under 500 words

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Editor's note: De Blasio dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sept. 20, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is joining the crowded Democratic field for the 2020 presidency — making him the third mayor in the race and the second New Yorker. The mayor has gained some national recognition over the years for his progressive policies.

Key facts about Bill de Blasio:
  • Current position: Mayor of New York City — elected in 2013
  • Age: 57
  • Born: New York City, New York
  • Undergraduate: New York University
  • Date candidacy announced: May 16
  • Previous roles: Regional director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; school board for Brooklyn School District 15 and head of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign.
Bill de Blasio's stance on key issues
  • Immigration: The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs says the 3 priorities of de Blasio's administration have been:
    • To enhance the economic, civic and social integration of immigrant New Yorkers.
    • Facilitate access to justice for immigrant New Yorkers.
    • Advocate for continued immigration reforms at all levels of government.
  • Health care: De Blasio promised to provide health insurance, branded as NYC Care, to low-income families and undocumented immigrants.
  • Education: As mayor, de Blasio began his term with some ambitious goals, dubbed the Reform initiative, which included improved reading levels and raising the on-time graduation rate. He also implemented universal pre-K for all 4-year-olds.
  • Criminal justice: Stop and frisk reportedly decreased significantly under de Blasio, but there is speculation some officers are just reporting these incidents less often. In 2016, de Blasio signed the Criminal Justice Reform Act focuses on police transparency, offering low-level offenders to complete community service in lieu of paying a civil penalty.
  • Climate change: De Blasio proposed a $10 billion plan to protect Manhattan from climate change by extending the coastline to account for rising future sea levels. De Blasio recently passed a bill requiring buildings to use more eco-friendly materials.
  • Equal pay: De Blasio supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Amateur Sports Act, which guarantee equal pay and resources in sports, regardless of gender.
Key criticisms of Bill de Blasio:
  • De Blasio has been accused of caring more about building a national profile than running New York City effectively.
  • His mayoral campaigns became the focus of federal investigations in response to his fundraising practices.
1 fun thing about Bill de Blasio:

De Blasio was actually born Warren Wilhelm Jr., but later changed his name to match his mother's maiden name.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

Go deeper