Christine Quinn grew up in middle class Brooklyn, an Irish daughter of a union electrical worker and a social worker for Catholic Charities. She is a seasoned politician who has fought tirelessly within a difficult context for the rights of middle class New Yorkers as well as the city's economic future. While some equate her with our outgoing mayor, it is a mistake to think that just because Quinn worked for Bloomberg that she will follow in his direct footsteps. This is a candidate after all, who began her career as out as a housing activist, helping low-income tenants stay in their homes, and went on to run the Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, fighting hate crimes and domestic violence.
To reiterate, Quinn is pro-education and pro-middle-class and those are two very good things for our city. In her years in the Bloomberg administration, she has fought tirelessly to expand pre-K public education and save the jobs of thousands of public school teachers. She also helped balance no less than eight budgets that kept firehouses and libraries open, while holding down taxes as much as possible. Quinn was also instrumental in supporting the living wage law and will continue to create thousands of new tech and manufacturing jobs in a city that was once the country's manufacturing capital in a whole host of industries--including our once-powerful garment industry. Neither of her two main opponents, Bill De Blasio or Anthony Weiner can point to a similar record--they don't even claim to want to pursue these ambitious and much-needed changes. Women and the working class should also back Quinn unconditionally as she has in the past backed issues such as paid sick leave and protecting a woman's right to choose. On the human rights front, Quinn has led the fight for marriage equality and fought to stop the wrongful deportation of the type of hard working immigrants that have made our city great for nearly four hundred years.
Every New Yorker should rejoice at having a strong and fair-minded candidate like Christine Quinn running for Mayor. Anthony Weiner's popularity in the polls, on the other hand, is downright terrifying. The man's constant lying, pseudo-philandering and circus-like attitude towards running the nation's most important cities are unbecoming of any mayoral candidate. And then there is the fact that Wiener's showing in the polls sets bad precedence--as evidenced by the decision by another unsavory character, Eliot Spitzer, to run for office again. At least it can be argued Spitzer was a damn good Attorney General. As a friend of mine noted sarcastically, the next thing you know Richard Nixon will rise from the dead so he can run for President again. Now wouldn't that be grand! Assuming Weiner is still in the race when this goes to press, he should quickly withdraw.
Americans like to blame politicians for many of their current woes--economic or otherwise--and in some cases justifiably so. But they also have to make mature, informed decisions when they go to the polls if they want to bring change to their city and to their quality of life. When I hear Quinn's opponents speak, I hear a lot of the type of malicious mud slinging that has become an unfortunate part of American political life, but I don't see much vision. Christine Quinn, on the other hand, has a vision for our city, and it is one that most fair-minded people will agree benefits everyone. I grew up in New York's fabled Yorkville (German and Hungarian town at the time!), the son of immigrants who worked tirelessly so that I could attend college, enter a profession and have a better life. That, in a nutshell, is also the New York that Christine Quinn wants to bring back. She implicitly understands that without a strong middle class, even the wealthy eventually lose out. So when elections come around this September, I hope that everyone will come to reason and vote for the candidate with the most experience and integrity, the one who cares the most about all New Yorkers--including the middle class and minorities--Christine Quinn.