From his early days as a City Hall volunteer, to serving on his local school board, to his current position as Public Advocate for the City of New York, Bill de Blasio has spent his life fighting to ensure every New Yorker—in every neighborhood through our five boroughs—gets a fair shot. Bill is committed to making sure every child gets a great education, to protecting our streets and our communities in every neighborhood, and to building a city where the middle-class and those striving to reach the middle-class can afford to live and thrive.
Bill has consistently championed the rights of middle and working class New Yorkers—by fighting to expand early childhood education, tenants’ rights and job opportunities for all New Yorkers.
Together with his wife, Chirlane, Bill is the proud parent of Chiara, a college freshman, and Dante, a high school sophomore. Having raised their children in Brooklyn and sent them to New York City public schools, both Bill and Chirlane have a firsthand understanding of the fundamental role parents and teachers share in educating the next generation—and of the importance in providing equal education opportunities in all city neighborhoods.
After graduating from NYU, Bill studied at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He began his career in public service as a junior staffer for New York City’s first African-American mayor, David N. Dinkins, and later became an assistant for community affairs at City Hall.
Bill then moved to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, working as Regional Director under then-Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, as New York and New Jersey’s highest-ranking official in the department. As regional director, Bill fought for increased federal funding for affordable homes, expanded housing services for senior citizens and worked with Secretary Cuomo to turn around a scandal-scarred agency. At HUD, Bill continued his focus on tenants’ rights—which helped inform Bill’s landmark, citywide Landlord Watch List in 2010.
At HUD, Bill crisscrossed the Tri-State region, gaining a critical understanding of the diverse communities that make up the New York metropolitan area. In a region where city and state are so interdependent, Bill saw how invaluable the private sector could be in creating jobs in New York City, and how crucial it is for government to support small businesses.
In 1999, Bill joined District 15’s School Board in Brooklyn, where he championed early childhood education and parental involvement, and helped his district become the first to cap class size in first grade and establish universal pre-K programs.
In 2000, Hillary Clinton asked Bill to manage her historic campaign for the U.S. Senate. Working at the head of a vast grassroots operation, Bill helped re-introduce Mrs. Clinton to New Yorkers and deliver her message about prioritizing children and families, securing her a decisive victory in a highly competitive campaign.
Two years later, he started his service in the City Council, representing the diverse Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope, Sunset Park, Boro Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace, Red Hook and Kensington.
In his eight years on the City Council, Bill focused his efforts on improving public education, engaging parents, expanding affordable housing, and protecting New York’s middle-class and working poor. Bill won over $100 million in new investments in early childhood education, and wrote landmark tenants’ rights legislation to protect affordable housing and end landlord discrimination for everyday New Yorkers.
As head of the City Council’s General Welfare Committee, Bill reformed government programs to minimize bureaucracy and better serve middle and working-class families.
Under Bill’s leadership, the Committee passed the Gender-Based Discrimination Protection law to protect transgendered New Yorkers, and passed the Domestic Partnership Recognition Law to ensure that same-sex couples in a legal partnership could enjoy all the same legal benefits of domestic partners of heterosexual couples in New York City.
During his tenure, Bill’s committee also passed the Benefits Translation for Immigrants Law, which helped non-English speakers access free language assistance services when participating in government programs.
Bill also helped pass the HIV/AIDS Housing Services law, improving housing services for low income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.
Bill led the fight against Mayor Bloomberg’s backroom battle to overturn the will of voters and give himself a third term in office.
In 2010, Bill was sworn in as Public Advocate, the City’s second-highest elected office. Since then, Bill’s voice has been heard across our city, forcefully advocating for stronger representation and services for the millions of workers who represent the foundation of New York City’s economy.
As Public Advocate, Bill helped stop thousands of teacher layoffs and saved good neighborhood schools that Mayor Bloomberg wanted to close. Bill helped protect firehouses that were on the budget chopping block, and fought for just compensation for brave First Responders who fell ill as a result of their heroic work in the days following 9/11.
Bill has fought to ensure that our government represents the needs of every New Yorker—from Midwood to Morningside Heights; from Bushwick to Bay Ridge. When the Department of Environmental Protection refused to address skyrocketing water bills, Bill held City Hall accountable and gave homeowners the tools to fight back.
He has worked to cut down on needless bureaucracy, hold city government accountable, and ensure that our elected officials use their resources to create good jobs and give parents a real voice in their children’s schools.
Bill knows that early childhood education is the best way to invest in our city’s future—and he has pushed tirelessly to make after-school programs and early childhood education a top priority in our city. Bill is committed to expanding these programs, and has aggressively fought against proposed budget cuts to these critical services.
His “Worst Landlords Watch List” publically identified landlords who took advantage of everyday New Yorkers, and pressured them to improve building maintenance and upkeep. Bill mirrored this tactic in “Open Government NYC,” a public database emphasizing City Council funding transparency.
Bill has been a forceful opponent of the corrosive influence of corporate money in politics. Dubbed the “Citizens United Avenger,” Bill has built a national coalition of elected officials to stop unlimited corporate money from corrupting our elections—even convincing JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup to pledge not to directly spend any corporate dollars in elections.
Bill has been a passionate voice for responsible investing, urging divestment from enemies like Iran who threaten America and our most trusted allies.
Bill knows we only succeed as New Yorkers if we leave no New Yorker behind. Bill knows we need new leadership that will fight for good, clean, strong, safe neighborhoods in which New Yorkers from all five boroughs can start businesses, raise their families and make our communities ever more vibrant.
Bill believes that New York City will grow strong as one city that rises together.