This year, republican candidate Nicole Malliotakis will be challenging incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio for the most powerful political position in NYC. An Assemblywoman from Staten Island, Malliotakis is a typical republican when it comes to fiscal conservatism, advocating for lower taxes, deregulation, and decreased government spending. Though she voted for Trump, Malliotakis is seeking to avoid a more distinct connection to her fellow republican in the white house and generally avoids the topic on the campaign trail. Mike Tolkin will also be running under the Smart Cities Party, after losing to de Blasio in the democratic primary in what was a landslide victory for de Blasio.
Though Malliotakis’ campaign has raised and spent enough money to qualify her for NYC’s matching funds program as well as the first mayoral debate for the general election, she still has a long way to go to catch up to de Blasio’s massive stockpile of campaign funds. While the Malliotakis campaign had raised an impressive $750,000 by late September, de Blasio campaign contribution totals exceeded $5 million.
There are many important issues at play which will determine who will be our next mayor. While we are unable to cover all of them here with the depth they deserve, here is a taste of a couple:
For some time, de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have been quarreling about whose responsibility it is to fix the MTA while train delays and poor service continue to rise at an exponential rate across the city. While Cuomo says that the city should help out with the funding it will take to fix the aging transit system, de Blasio maintains that it is the state’s responsibility and so would be unfair to push the burden onto NYC taxpayers. Malliotakis rails against the resulting political gridlock and current MTA mismanagement and promises to “extend a hand” to Cuomo and work with him to provide the funding. She suggests taking it out of a rainy day fund of around $2 million that the de Blasio administration has been reserving in preparation for potential federal budget cuts to NYC, which have been threatened by the Trump administration several times.
Homelessness & Affordable Housing
Malliotakis is extremely critical of the de Blasio administration on the issue of homelessness and strongly opposes de Blasio’s plan to build 90 new homeless shelters throughout the city. As a part of this plan, de Blasio has pledged that the city will end the extremely expensive practice of housing homeless families in hotels by 2023. Malliotakis agrees that the city should stop housing homeless families in hotels, but maintains that the city should focus on transitioning them into permanent housing rather than building more homeless shelters and pledges to “use funds to build supportive and affordable housing” for this purpose if elected mayor. However, it remains unclear where these funds will come from and just how affordable the affordable housing will be. De Blasio dismisses Malliotakis’ plans as unrealistic and says that her approach will only lead to more homeless people on the streets. The de Blasio administration has also pledged to build more affordable and supportive housing and has offered rent vouchers to families transitioning out of the shelter system. Yet no matter how many people seem to move out, homeless shelters across the city remain filled. NYC’s homeless population is currently at a record high of over 60,000 people and has continued to rise under de Blasio. With rents skyrocketing and gentrification on the rise, some have accused the de Blasio administration of simply managing the problem rather than finding lasting solutions.
For more information on where the NYC mayoral candidates stand on other important issues like education, criminal justice reform, and the minimum wage, visit the candidates’ campaign websites: