We must make an important decision later this month. The Democratic primary is on June 22, and I urge all of you to vote. More than ever before, the upcoming primary election offers an opportunity for us to shed the failed policies of the past and decide the future of New York City—your city.
I hope you will read our endorsements in this issue of PEP talk (pages 9-22) and consider why these candidates represent the change our city so desperately needs.
At the top of our list of endorsements sits our choice for New York City’s next Mayor: Eric Adams.
It has been said often in the past that the office of the Mayor of New York City is the third most important job in this country. The person holding this position oversees a budget larger than most states, employs hundreds of thousands of people, including our members, and makes executive decisions for good or ill on behalf of a city with a widely diverse population of more than 8 million people.
The choices the mayor makes are consequential and resonate far beyond our five boroughs. New York City is a major center for culture and education, a key element of the international financial system, and the go-to destination for those who come here from around the world to seek opportunities impossible to find elsewhere.
We are only beginning to recover from an unprecedented health and economic crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic destroyed lives and families. Ultimately, the pandemic exposed the disparities of race and class in so many areas:
health care, law enforcement and criminal justice, delivery of vital services, education, economic development, affordable housing, and a transition to a Green New York.
With these issues confronting us, it is time for profound and lasting change. We cannot continue as before. This is now a different world. The process of how we adapt to our new normal begins later this month.
Our next mayor will be the person to address the problems we face and guide us beyond this painful present. The one we choose as our city’s mayor must be someone who displays the characteristic of leadership required to make the decisions necessary to implement needed transformational policies for the benefit of all.
In endorsing Eric Adams, we endorse a fearless leader prepared to take on the challenges before us. He is from Brownsville, Brooklyn, and at age 15, was taken to a basement of a police precinct and beaten by NYPD officers. Imagine the hurt. The rage. The desire to strike back.
Instead, he chose the audacious path to become an agent for change. Encouraged to transform this horrific experience into motivation to reform the NYPD, he embarked on a journey that led to graduating second in his class at the Police Academy. During his career at the NYPD, he fought for police reform and was an outspoken leader against racial injustice, taking positions that often put him at personal risk.
After retiring in 2006, he moved on to elective office, serving in the New York State Senate before being elected Brooklyn Borough President in 2013. As an activist, a legislator, and in leading the largest borough of our city, Eric never lost sight of where he came from.
He tells us, “I am you.” He overcame adversity and was unwavering in speaking out against injustice and police brutality. As a member of the New York State Senate, he continued fighting for what is right. As Brooklyn Borough President, he implemented policies and programs to better serve his community. When COVID-19 struck our city, he worked tirelessly to provide aid, including PPE, to essential workers on the frontlines and also for those in communities most at risk.
His actions speak even louder than his words: He is us.
As essential public workers who faced the greatest crisis of our lifetime, it is our responsibility to decide the leader who will guide us to a better future. A leader who understands us. A leader who is us.
I urge you to rank Eric Adams as your first choice for mayor.