On January 1, Mayor- elect Bill de Blasio will be sworn in by former President Bill Clinton. de Blasio has won the title by positioning himself as the liberal opposite of former mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Born to Maria de Blasio and Warren Wilhelm in 1961, de Blasio was originally named after his father, but had his name legally changed in 2002. His parents were divorced when he was just 8-years-old. He credits his upbringing to his maternal family. de Blasio received a bachelors and masters from NYU and Columbia University.
His early political career consisted of him working on the campaign of former New York Mayor, David Dinkins. That is when he met his wife, Chirlane McCray. The couple have been married since 1994 and have two children, Chiara and Dante, who were both involved in their father’s campaign.
de Blasio won the mayoral elections by presenting himself as extremely liberal. His critics in the Republican camp have great fears about what this may mean for the existence of a New York that Bloomberg has molded. According to de Blasio, Bloomberg’s New York has only served to benefit the rich. Liberal critics state that de Blasio is not actually as progressive as he projects himself to be, but is in fact, just an expert strategist.
As a former campaign manager for Hilary Rodham Clinton, during her successful bid for U.S. Senate in 2000, de Blasio is no stranger to political strategy. Having worked with both Clintons, de Blasio stated that he is honored to have Bill Clinton swear him in during Wednesday’s ceremony.
de Blasio’s family is noted to have been very involved in his run for mayor. Both children had created videos for the campaign. Dante’s video concerned New York’s stop and frisk policy. In the video, he devotedly speaks of how his father will end the racist practice that targets people of color. In a video released on Christmas Eve, Chiara talks about her struggle with depression and substance abuse. de Brasio and those involved in his campaign have stated that the video was meant to assist others, who share the same problems as Chiara, to get through the holiday season. Critics say it was a political ploy- to garner media attention towards the win.
The de Blasio family has received a lot of media attention as of late. The interest began with Dante’s video, which earned him the title of “Sixth Most Influential Teen,” by Time Magazine.
Additionally, a 1979 article written by McCray resurfaced, creating a stir of interest. The article earned de Blasio further attention from the African-American and LGBT communities. The article titled, I am a Lesbian was published in Essence Magazine. In an interview with Essence this past June, McCray explains her motive behind the article. She claims this was her attempt to dispel all myths that there were no gay, African-American people during her youth. In the interview McCray also spoke of her marriage to de Blasio and how it is possible for her to once been a proud lesbian, but now, just as equally be proud to represent one half of a “traditional marriage.”
Friends and colleagues describe the marriage between de Brasio and his wife McCray as a partnership between two people who are passionate about each other. de Blasio, who credits his wife for being, “compassionate” and “tough,” has stated that she will be involved in his time as mayor, either directly or indirectly. McCray’s first task as New York’s first lady-elect is deciding whether the family will move into Gracie Mansion or remain in their Brooklyn home.
The inauguration is to begin at noon on the steps of New York’s City Hall. de Blasio will be accompanied by his loving and supportive family, as well as the Clintons. There is much excitement about Bill Clinton swearing-in the new mayor. It has not been common in New York history for someone of his prestigious stature to cover an event.
By Earnestine Jones