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Posted under: Opinion News

Ray McGuire: New York City Deserves A Comeback

You have an opportunity to choose “more of the same” or “a historical comeback.”

Amid a pandemic, racial reckoning, a focus on the wealth gap and so many other issues the past year has made visible, whoever becomes the next Mayor of New York City will be a critical part of the city’s recovery and progress unlike any other before.

Whether you’re a child living in the projects of East New York or a billionaire on Park Avenue, the mayor’s choices will affect all New Yorkers in the coming years. You too, tourists.

For the next few weeks, Blavity’s “Meet The 2021 NYC Mayoral Candidates” series will feature essays from the leading candidates, describing who they are and why they should have the honor and privilege of serving you, millennial and Gen Z New Yorkers of color.

Cast your vote during the New York City Primaries on June 22, 2021.

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I am Ray McGuire, candidate for mayor and ready to lead the greatest, most inclusive comeback in New York City’s history. I see the city I love hurting and if there’s ever a time I believe my experiences can lift New Yorkers, it is now. We have one shot to get this recovery right and to ensure that it is inclusive, leaving no New Yorker behind. I am running to save small businesses, create jobs New Yorkers so desperately need, transform our education system for our children and make sure New York City is a home for all by reducing homelessness by creating paths to homeownership.

I was raised with a deep respect for hard work and a firm and abiding belief that education was my ticket to anywhere I wanted to go. And for me, it truly was. My two brothers and I were raised by my single mother and grandparents. And, at any given time, we also had half a dozen foster children living with us. So I know what it's like to not have — my mother sometimes worked three jobs to keep food on our table and often had to make tough decisions to care for our family. By the grace of God, the sacrifices of family and scholarships, I was able to go from a struggling school to a better one. I had to walk almost a mile just to catch the bus, but that school and the encouragement of a teacher helped me get to Harvard University, where I graduated from undergrad and later received my law and business degrees.

A young Ray McGuire. / Ray McGuire
A young Ray McGuire. / Ray McGuire

Education got me to where I am today. But now, one in four students still fail to finish high school. Less than three out of 10 of our fourth- and eighth-graders read or do math at grade level. The outcomes are even worse for students of color and those living in poverty. These challenges are exacerbated by the crisis of COVID-19, leaving many children, especially those who look like me, behind. The challenge we are facing is that by the time many of our children get to pre-K, they’re already behind. I want to start at ages zero to four so our children get to pre-K on track. I then want to ensure that each of our children can learn to read by the end of the third grade. Between zero and the end of third grade, all the science will tell you that children are learning to read. After that, they’re reading to learn — and far too many never learn to read by the end of the third grade. We find ourselves passing them along and creating a harmful pipeline.

Additionally, as mayor, I’m going to address the housing crisis that has plagued this city for far too long. From 2001 to 2008 the city created 2.2 units of housing per new job, but is now only generating .5 units per job. This is unsustainable. I will address this issue by providing New Yorkers with a pathway of increased opportunity, moving people out of shelters and into permanent housing, increasing the availability of quality rental options at all income levels and getting more people on a path to homeownership.

To help everyday New Yorkers deal with the current economic crisis, we need to grow our way to recovery, not just tax or cut our way out of this. That’s why I have a plan to create 500,000 jobs (half of which will go to small businesses), a Comeback Bank that will get more capital into communities, and a policy to allow small businesses to keep their sales tax receipts for one year and use those funds to bring back employees or pay utilities. For far too long we’ve been given crumbs and expected to be satisfied. I’m not interested in crumbs — I’m actually not even interested in the cake — I want us to own the bakeries.

The next mayor needs to be someone who can make the city’s big bureaucracy work more effectively. New York needs someone with decades of management experience, not someone whose very first management job will be as mayor of a workforce of more than 300,000 people. We can’t afford that risk. The next mayor needs to be someone who is prepared to look at the city budget with fresh eyes, someone who is ready to make the tough calls without concessions to special interests.

My clients trusted my judgment and vision. They trusted me to guide them through moments of profound change. These were the most high-stakes, complex moments in the lives of their businesses. They trusted me to know what they needed to survive and grow and see not just the immediate challenge, but the challenge around the corner. That is the leadership New York City needs today. That is the leadership I will bring to City Hall.

I love New York City. It's where I met my wife, Crystal, and where we are raising our three children: Cole, Ella and Leo. I'm ready to give back to the city that has given me everything and I pledge to be a leader that's accountable to all New Yorkers. New York, you have an opportunity to choose “more of the same” or “a historical comeback.” Our city deserves a restart. See the future with me by voting for Ray McGuire as your number one choice on June 22.

Learn more about Ray McGuire at RayForMayor.com.

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