Who is Bill de Blasio? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate

 

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Bill de Blasio, the incumbent two-term mayor of New York City, is running for president, hoping to become the first New York mayor since 1869 to be elected to a higher office.

De Blasio served as a mayoral aide and as campaign manager for then-Rep. Charles Rangel and U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Clinton. He climbed the New York City electoral ladder, from school board to city council to public advocate to mayor.

By the time de Blasio ran for mayor in 2013, the city had seemingly tired of 12 years under centrist Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pushed a stop-and-frisk approach to policing that was widely opposed by civil rights advocates and many minority residents.

De Blasio urged an end to stop-and-frisk and advocated other progressive policies, especially efforts to reduce income inequality.

De Blasio won his first bid for mayor with 73% of the vote and was reelected in 2017 with 66%. On his watch, the city’s economy has been strong, student test scores have risen, and crime rates are historically low.

Among de Blasio’s legislative accomplishments as mayor have been passage of a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, universal pre-kindergarten, and a city ID card for undocumented immigrants.

At the same time, de Blasio has grappled with growing dissatisfaction with the New York subway system, stubborn management problems at the city’s housing authority, and high levels of homelessness.

He’s also participated in a seemingly endless series of feuds ⁠— with the police, the media, and with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat.

One high-profile loss came when Amazon initially decided to award part of its new headquarters to Long Island City in the borough of Queens, then pulled out amid opposition from some local residents and politicians.

De Blasio entered the 2020 presidential race relatively late, in mid-May 2019. As of mid June, his website did not have a section listing his top issue positions, but in his campaign announcement video, he mentioned such issues as income inequality, education, health care, immigration, and climate change.

 

Name: Bill de Blasio

Current occupation: Presidential candidate

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: Regional director, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1997-98.

State and local offices: Mayor of New York City, 2014-present; New York City public advocate, 2010-13; New York City council member, district 39, 2002-09; Brooklyn district 39 school board.

Private sector work: Campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate bid; campaign manager to then-Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; aide to then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

Military: None.

Books authored: None.

Education: New York University, B.A.; Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, M.A.

Birth date: May 8, 1961

Personal life: Chirlane McCray, wife; two children, Dante and Chiara.

Religion: No formal identification.

Top issues: Income inequality, education, health care, immigration, climate change.

Endorsements: Michael Butler, mayor of Orangeburg, S.C.; New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council; New York state Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte.

Major donors: No disclosures filed yet.

Miscellaneous: De Blasio grew up in Massachusetts and is ⁠— controversially for New Yorkers ⁠— a Red Sox fan. He is 6 feet, 5 inches tall.

Other coverage: PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter; New York Times, "He’s Running for President. His Allies Don’t Care," June 7, 2019; Los Angeles Times, "New York Mayor Bill de Blasio takes his low popularity to the national stage," June 14, 2019; New York magazine, "Bill de Blasio Tries to Find Someone, Somewhere, Who Wants to Vote for Him," June 10, 2019; Daily Beast, "Here’s Why Bill de Blasio Thinks He Can Be President. And Here’s Why He’s Wrong," June 1, 2019; The Guardian, "Bill de Blasio: Why won't people take New York mayor's 2020 bid seriously?" May 17, 2019; New York Times, "Stop Sneering at Bill de Blasio," June 17, 2019

Campaign website: billdeblasio.com