Sets forth on ‘progressive path’
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Following his landslide election victory on Tuesday night, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio thanked his many supporters in an acceptance speech delivered at the Park Slope Armory, and told the cheering crowd that the hard work was just beginning.
“Tackling inequality isn’t easy; it never has been, and never will be. The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we set out to address will not be solved overnight,” he said.
“But make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city.”
Hewing to a theme that he had pressed consistently throughout his campaign –- a “Tale of Two Cities” –- de Blasio called inequality “the defining challenge of our time.”
“New York is the brightest embodiment of the idea behind American greatness: It doesn't matter where you were born what you look like what your religion is, or who you love. If you have brains and heart and guts and faith, this city – more than any other in the world – will offer you a real chance at a better life.
“For generations, New York has meant opportunity. That’s what it has been to so many, and that what it must be again.”
De Blasio touched on several issues that he had defined during his campaign: schools, excessive stop-and-frisk, affordable housing and the preservation of hospitals.
He reiterated his pledge to ask the ultra-wealthy to pay “just a little more in taxes” to fund universal Pre-K and after-school programs.
He said that public safety must co-exist with respect for civil liberties. “In fact we must have both.”
He reiterated his demand that big developers build affordable housing.
And he drew loud applause when he promised to “fight to keep our hospitals from becoming luxury condos.” De Blasio gained many supporters in Brooklyn this year with his consistent and active support of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill and Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, two major hospitals threatened with imminent closure.
De Blasio called his wife Chirlane McCray “the love of my life,” and said “I am most lucky to be the father of two extraordinary children, Chiara and Dante. They make me proud every single day.”
His thanks went back generations, to his Italian family and friends in Rome, “and in my Grandfather’s hometown of Sant’Agata dei Goti and my Grandmother’s hometown of Grassano. To them I say: grazie a tutti!”
He also spoke parts of his speech in fluent Spanish, drawing enthusiastic applause from many in the crowd.