By Nina Davis
New York City, New York
A native New Yorker and former NYPD officer, Eric Adams is the Democratic nominee for New York City’s 110th mayoral election. Self-described as a progressive Democrat, the candidate held his lead over fellow candidate Kathryn Garcia by less than one percent of the votes. What put him over the top?
Having served in the NYPD for 22 years, Adams has positioned crime and security at the forefront of his platform. Insisting that the choice between being for or against the NYPD is the wrong one, the nominee believes that the NYPD must be reformed, but kept in order to protect the citizens of the city. Including plans to reinstate an anti-gun unit and have police conduct random spot checks at bus terminals, his campaign ran on a promise to “catch the bad guys.”
On the education front, Adams has pushed for an increase in job training throughout the city's high schools. Though he cites programs such as ApprenticeNYC, it is unclear what exactly these programs will look like and who will be eligible to participate. Also, in favor of charter schools, he supports the cap on how many schools are allowed to open but also wants to replicate those schools that have been working well. Adams has received great support from Jenny Sedlis, the executive director of the group StudentsFirstNY, who are vocal supporters of charter schools in New York and across the country. The director took a leave of absence from the group during the campaign to create a political support group for the candidate.
As Brooklyn Borough President, the candidate pushed for the legislation that allowed young adults from age 16 to 18 to participate in their boroughs’ community boards. Throughout his campaign as mayor, however, he did not seem to reach that demographic quite as well. In a study performed by the Bloomberg Equality group, Maya Wiley led the vote among younger Black voters, while Adams picked up the votes of the older Black population. In 2010, during his time as a New York State Senator, Adams headed an initiative called ‘Stop the Sag’, where billboards encouraged young Black men to “pull up their pants and reject racial stereotypes”. This initiative suggested that Black youth who wore their pants a certain way were bound to become involved in criminal activity, and may have alienated some voters.
Throughout his campaign, Adams also made comments suggesting that Twitter is causing problems with political reporting, a move that may not have resonated with today's youth, as the group relies heavily on social media to receive news and form opinions, according to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center.
Although the former borough president is by no means a new politician, he has never carried a burden quite as large as the one he looks to undertake. The nominee needs to garner support from across the five boroughs and from those who have served the city previously. While tensions seemed high throughout the mayoral debates, there is hope that the other former Democratic candidates can help ensure that Adams will adhere to the needs of the people.