Bill de Blasio talks up mayoral record as he hits congressional campaign trail

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio talked up his two terms in office in a Wednesday night candidate forum for a rare open seat in Congress representing the five boroughs. 

“We broke the back of the forces that were holding back fairness and inclusion and equality,” the lefty stalwart told an audience at the event hosted by the LGBT Center on West 13th Street. 

The progressive champion – who announced his campaign days ago – oversaw record homelessness and questionable progress on his signature cause of battling economic inequality across his controversial tenure while securing big policy wins through social programs like universal pre-kindergarten. 

“Remember together what we did just in these last eight years. Remember what we achieved for trans rights, what we achieved with gender neutral birth certificates, we did that together in New York City, with gender neutral bathrooms in city buildings,” he bragged at the forum.  

Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference outside the Capitol to reintroduce the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
Rep. Mondaire Jones is also going for the open congressional seat.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP

De Blasio is running in the June 28 primary to represent the newly redrawn 10th Congressional District straddling left-leaning parts of lower Manhattan, his home turf in Brownstone Brooklyn, and relatively conservative areas in Borough Park.

Rep. Mondaire Jones, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera are among other candidates vying for the open seat.

Republicans are expected to make big gains in the US House based on polling and historic trends though Democrats are hoping to hold their slim majority.

“I feel like we are getting just had this endless stream of analysis quote, unquote, analysis telling us just get used to the fact that we’re going to lose in November because of these historical patterns and all and I don’t buy it,” de Blasio said Wednesday night.

Jones, Niou, and Rivera leveraged their records in elected office while making their own case at the six-person forum that also featured former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman and political newcomer Elizabeth Kim.

“On the ride here, I saw Candace Owens and a bunch of other people on Twitter, blaming and using this attack of this murder of mass murder of children and blaming Trans kids. You can’t make this stuff up. Our communities are under attack,” Niou said, referring to comments by the right-wing firebrand about a recent shooting at a Texas.

Rivera leaned on her love of animals to stick out among the competition.

“I have passed historic animal legislation in the Council but what some people might not know is that … I have a 16 year-old pug and I have a 30 year-old turtle,” she said at one point.

Jones currently represents a district north of the city, but opted to run for the 10th Congressional District after fellow Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney set off an inter-party war by announcing a run in a newly drawn, left-leaning district representing much of Jones’ current district.

“[Republicans] cannot be allowed to take back control of the House of Representatives,” Jones – one of the first gay, Black men elected to Congress in New York — told the crowd Wednesday night.

Jones added that his experience on the Hill would help him deliver the bacon to constituents if his party does lose control of the lower chamber this November.

“In the minority, you can still do some things. You can elevate issues … you can even bring money back to your district, he said.

Democrats ought to get ready for a long fight considering Republicans’ success in moving the U.S. Supreme Court toward the right in recent decades, according to Holtzman, a former city comptroller and Kings County district attorney.

“We have a Supreme Court that wants to take us backwards, that is dismantling the 14th amendment that wants to dismantle women’s rights, gun rights, voting rights. It’s a dangerous situation. So, I want to say, I’m still optimistic, and we can’t give up,” she said.

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