New York City’s mayor announced his campaign launch Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He joins 22 Democratic candidates in the race for the White House.
What We Know:
- The son of Maria Angela de Blasio and Warren Wilhelm, he was born in New York City in 1961. He has two brothers, Steven and Donald. Their father was a Purple Heart recipient who lost a leg fighting in World War II, according to the New York Times. He turned to alcohol when he returned home, eventually splitting with his wife and later killing himself when De Blasio was 18. De Blasio has said that his father was an example of courage but also an example of “what not to do.” De Blasio grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and studied at New York University and has lived in New York ever since. In his 20’s, he changed his last name to his mother’s, saying that she had been the most important influence in his life.
- De Blasio has been New York City’s mayor since January 2014, stepping into the role after Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Ahead of his announcement, De Blasio traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, prompting rumors that he’d be jumping into the race.
- He’s perhaps most notably known for implementing universal pre-K in New York City. Crime rates are also at record lows, though critics have questioned if crime is going unreported. He has also signed an executive order to exchange single-use plastics for composting or recycling alternatives, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, plastic pollution and wildlife risks according to WABC. In January, De Blasio also talked on ABC’s “The View” about his plan for comprehensive health care for all New Yorkers, including 300 thousand undocumented residents.
- De Blasio served as Housing and Urban Development regional director, as a Brooklyn School District school board member and as a New York City councilman for the 39th district. He also headed Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 U.S. Senate bid. De Blasio started his public service career in 1989 working on New York Mayor David Dinkin’s campaign.
- He graduated from NYU and Columbia University.
- He was elected New York City mayor twice in landslide victories.
- De Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray is a poet and activist.
- They have two kids: Chiara and Dante.
- According to the New York Times, he is the tallest mayor in the city’s history, standing at nearly 6 feet, 6 inches.