The heart-breaking problems confronting New York today seem almost to defy solution. At a moment when profound economic and social hardships face us, and the Covid pandemic has dealt us a devastating blow, few of the two dozen or so contenders to replace Bill DeBlasio have remotely demonstrated the knowledge, experience and managerial skills demanded.
Only two or three of the candidates have significant name recognition by the general public, who will be virtually choosing blind on June 22, 2021, the date of the mayoral primaries. Early polls indicate that perhaps the most eminently qualified mayoral candidate is not yet well known to many voters.
Ray McGuire, if elected, gives promise of becoming one of New York’s all-time greats. Brilliant, dynamic, creative and highly admired throughout financial, foundation and governmental circles, McGuire as Mayor offers the best hope of New York’s recovery.
Those who know him well, like Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah, support him enthusiastically. Valerie Jarrett, Barack Obama’s senior advisor, sings his praises and is working actively on his behalf. Spike Lee and our former Governor, David Patterson, cheer him on; and his fellow Board members of the Studio Museum of Harlem (of which McGuire has long been Chairman) acclaim his devotion to and support of black art and black artists. Celebrity model Naomi Campbell tells everyone who will listen, “Ray never met his father, like myself. He was raised by a single mother, like myself. He is the epitome of the American Dream.”
Contemplating New York today, Ray McGuire understands that, as he says, “the only way to come back is to grow.” Through carefully thought-out, detailed programs, he hopes to bring back 500,000 good jobs, at least half of which will be in small businesses. Time is of the essence, he feels, and he plans not to wait until he is Mayor in 2022 but to start working immediately with financial institutions, non-profit foundations and with state and federal agencies for programs with prompt impact.
McGuire plans to appoint a Deputy Mayor expressly to work with women-owned and minority-owned small businesses, and he plans to create a Red Tape Commission to modify or eliminate unnecessary regulations which needlessly raise costs or impose delays. Making New York the global center of technology start-ups and treating high tech firms as partners in economic growth will, he believes, stimulate employment of local talent.
Angry that more than 1.5 million New York residents do not have a mobile or home broadband connection, he plans to extend broadband access to every home and small business in the city. By breaking up larger government contracts into more modest components, he hopes to allow smaller firms to serve as prime contractors. By creating effective programs for the less educated, he hopes to pair basic education with vocational training, thereby increasing employment prospects.
There are other candidates, including Andrew Yang and Eric Adams, whose policies and promises would likely benefit both Harlem and New York City as a whole, and they are worthy second choices. But when the voting public eventually finds out who Ray McGuire is, and when they elect him Mayor, he may well turn out to be just what this troubled city requires. By spreading the word to family and friends, and by encouraging them to register and to vote, you personally can play an important role in the life of your city.