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Michael Bloomberg on the issues, in under 500 words

Bloomberg himself.
Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg is a late entry to the Democratic primary, launching less than three months out from the Iowa caucuses. The billionaire is known for his former role as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 and his current position as CEO of Bloomberg LP.

Key facts

  • Current position: Founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP
  • Age: 77
  • Born: Boston
  • Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University
  • Graduate: Harvard University MBA
  • Date candidacy announced: Nov. 24, 2019
  • Previous roles: Mayor of New York City (2002–2013)

Key issues

  • Climate: Has donated $500 million to an initiative to halt construction of new natural gas-fired power plants and to close all U.S. coal plants by 2030. Has called the Green New Deal unrealistic.
  • Gun control: Supports universal background checks, but does not think confiscating military-style weapons already in circulation would be feasible. Founded and primary financier of Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for stricter gun control legislation.
  • Wealth tax: Has called for more progressive tax policy, but says the wealth tax proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren goes too far.
  • Health care: Called for a public option to compete with private insurance, but would not reinstate Obamacare's individual mandate. Wants Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
  • LGBTQ+ issues: Supports same-sex marriage and presided over New York City’s first official same-sex marriage the day it became legal. The Human Rights Campaign also named Bloomberg LP one of the "Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality."
  • Immigration: Made several reforms in New York to help immigrants. His administration ensured confidentiality of immigration status for all people who interacted with the city government and spearheaded programs to help immigrant entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
  • Housing: Boosted affordable housing programs in New York, building 175,000 units between 2002 and 2013.
  • Veterans: Provided priority job placement and assistance services to veterans and their spouses. Worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to combat veteran homelessness.
  • Gun control: Wants to boost background checks, close private sale and boyfriend loopholes, require permits for gun owners and ban assault weapons.

Key criticisms

  • The Democratic Party has an increasingly unfavorable view of billionaires, specifically as it relates to their influence in politics. Bloomberg has an estimated net worth of $54 billion.
  • While serving as mayor, Bloomberg also implemented the stop and frisk policing practice, which disproportionately affected people of color. He has defended the policy for years but apologized this month when it became clear he was preparing to run for president.

1 fun thing:

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