Thank you for being a part of this campaign. Thank you to everyone who voted for me, whether you did so for the first time, or you were one of the many who shared proudly that they “always” do. And thank you to the more than 1,600 of you who invested your hard-earned dollars in our campaign, helping us to raise more public funds than any other candidate for Borough President citywide. Thank you to those who worked on our team and volunteered their time. You have been the lifeblood of our campaign for a more affordable and fairer Manhattan.
This campaign was different. We bet big, a million dollars on television ads to talk to New Yorkers of all backgrounds, not only those most likely to vote because I believe we need more elected officials who have experienced the same challenges as everyday New Yorkers. We shared my personal story of growing up right here in Manhattan in a one-bedroom apartment with my single mom, a story of the struggle to afford to live here that is all too common in our city.
As of Tuesday night, among the first ranked votes, we came in third place. With 200,000 ballots cast and a reported 60,000 absentee ballots outstanding, the counting of ranked-choice votes won’t begin until next week at the earliest. This is the first time New York has voted ranked-choice, and it remains unknown how many voters chose to rank more than one candidate and if their rankings will go to the existing frontrunners or be consolidated to boost a campaign like ours that is fighting the status quo.
Our campaign forced other candidates to think twice before taking real estate money, much to the consternation of the real estate developers who’ve gotten whatever they wanted for far too long. We put a spotlight on affordable housing and investing in our children by ending youth hunger, providing childcare, afterschool, and universal youth jobs.
The new full public matching campaign finance system that I authored and fought for my entire career to pass has helped empower candidates of all backgrounds to run for office and win. For the first time in history, it is likely that women will outnumber men in the City Council, where they had previously been outnumbered by as much as four-to-one. More candidates of color won. More progressive candidates won. Many of these candidates did so while refusing big money from real estate developers, corporations, and lobbyists, as we have always done. I am hopeful that with all these new Council Members elected, accountable only to the voters not greedy real estate developers, residents like you and me might win for a change.
Over the past 7 and a half years, we took on corruption in the City Council, writing the law to eliminate outside income to make the job full time and banning the Speaker’s “lulu” slush fund which was used to pay Council Members for their obedience. When a whistle-blower shared that real estate developers were getting billions in tax dollars from politicians they paid in campaign cash without giving the affordable housing they promised, I wrote the law to force tens of thousands of affordable homes back on the market. We “broke” the City’s land use process with a community-led rezoning to block super tall buildings for billionaires in my district, then made buildings with unlimited empty spaces illegal on the Upper East and Upper Westsides. As a public school student who was teased so much for being on the reduced lunch line that I didn’t eat, I made it a priority as a Council Member to win free lunch for every student.
Here in the neighborhood we won pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds and 3-years-olds, secured half a billion to revitalize our parks, and cleaned up our streets with a new trash can on every corner. With the help of the best constituents in the world, we’ve done so much more, which you can see for yourself in our last annual report. Our work has left an indelible mark on our city, on politics, on affordable housing, on our children, and on our skyline.
As we await the final count in our race, I’ve been truly humbled by your emails, text messages, and phone calls, and even being stopped on the street with love and support for whatever comes next.
This isn’t the end of our story, and I am so grateful you have chosen to be a part of it.