De Blasio's rivals: The second tier weighs in on the mayor
Eric Armstead says Mayor Bill de Blasio is doing “pretty good,” but, as an East New York native, Armstead could do better because he knows firsthand what New Yorkers need.
“I was born and raised in New York City – I was a ’70s baby,” said Armstead, who has never run for public office before. “So I know how to handle this city, the Big Apple. I know what people want.”
Armstead, 45, who has experience doing criminal security work, said he would better equip the police force and seek to add tolls to bridges that lack them because he believes that would help deter people from smuggling in drugs and guns.
Additionally, Armstead said he would work to institute a tax credit for renters. “(Landlords are) killing people’s pockets,” he said. “I’m fighting for our people to see a better life and better living. If we only see a little bit of it – as long as our children do – that’s the most important thing to me.”
He credited de Blasio for repairing bricks and removing asbestos in public housing, but said more should be done. Armstead, who lives in public housing, said he would collaborate with New York City public housing residents to come up with ways to improve their communities.
Josh Thompson, a 31-year-old protégé of New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, boasts about standing up to his own party.
He told Politico New York that he was proud of backing charter schools against fellow Democrats, and has been public about his support for school vouchers and merit pay for educators.
Thompson, whose campaign did not respond to an interview request, credited a private school in Newark, New Jersey, with changing his life while growing up with a mother who struggled to make ends meet. That gave him the goal of ensuring all children have access to such quality education, according to Chalkbeat.
While in school, Thompson met Booker and volunteered on his Newark mayoral campaign. Thompson went on to work in education roles for pro-charter, Democratic mayors in Washington, D.C., and Bridgeport, Connecticut, before becoming executive director of New Leaders New York, a nonprofit teacher development group, according to his campaign website.
“While the mayor is raising money to get his own job back I’ve raised over $9 million for children (at New Leaders),” Thompson told Town & Village. “If you go to Bridgeport, you’ll see a balanced budget and every student has a tablet in their hand.”
Beyond concerns with education, Thompson has said Mayor Bill de Blasio has not done enough to help the homeless. Thompson also questioned de Blasio’s affordable housing agenda, noting in Town & Village, that the administration’s preservation deal for Stuyvesant Town, where he resides, is far from affordable.
After moving to the city in 2014, Thompson planned to run for outgoing City Councilman Daniel Garodnick’s Upper East Side seat. But he decided he wanted to work with more under-served communities, and opted to oppose de Blasio instead, according to Town & Village.
Michael Basch, who worked on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Madison, Wisconsin, is back in the boroughs and bent on upending the status quo at City Hall.
“I am running for mayor because I believe that politics as usual needs to change and that we have both the ability and responsibility to stand up and make the change we want to see in this city,” Basch wrote in an email. “I see problems in the city that should have been addressed by now, and I know I can make a difference in people's lives.”
Basch, who declined to speak with City & State, wrote back identifying several topics, but with few specifics, when asked about his priorities. He wrote that he wanted to make the city a hub of technological innovation, sustainability and inclusion; address racial inequality across the criminal justice and education systems; and ensure children get sufficient nutrition.
The 32-year-old lives in the Financial District and describes himself as a successful entrepreneur who is a volunteer and is active in the Jewish community. After earning an MBA, he joined Bamko, a global promotional goods company, and then worked as president of Spotad, a global, mobile advertising company.
He claims to be one of the first volunteers to show up at Clinton’s headquarters after she announced her candidacy. He helped craft Clinton’s policy positions as part of her technology and innovation team and oversaw community organizing for her in Madison. Clinton won Dane County, where Madison is located, by 47 percentage points.