Bill De Blasio Says His Group to Present ‘Progressive Agenda’ May 12Henry Goldman
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will release his own “contract with America” on May 12, an effort to draw attention to his nationwide effort to resolve income inequality.
De Blasio told MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Wednesday that he would issue the plan on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. He’ll be joined by elected officials, activists and celebrities. He borrowed the idea from someone he seldom agrees with, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who made a right-wing contract the centerpiece of congressional elections two decades ago.
“I obviously disagree with Newt Gingrich on many things, but in 1994 he put forward the contract with America, and it had a crystallizing effect for his party and for conservatives,” said de Blasio, a Democrat. “We’ll offer a straightforward, clear, sharp progressive agenda for addressing income inequality.”
The agenda will include higher taxes on the wealthy, an increase in the minimum wage and paid sick leave.
De Blasio, 53, hosted an April 2 meeting at Gracie Mansion, his official Manhattan residence, that included Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy; former Governor Ted Strickland and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, both of Ohio; and Jonathan Soros, son of the billionaire hedge fund founder and philanthropist George Soros.
They emerged with the idea of writing a new contract to draw 2016’s presidential candidates to their agenda. The pact also includes using taxes on the wealthy to pay for job-creating infrastructure improvements and help for families having difficulty paying for education and housing, he said.
He’s pushed the theme since he won the mayoral election in 2013 by 49 percentage points, the biggest margin ever for a non-incumbent. Weeks before taking office, he announced that the job included his acting as “a national convener” for “a progressive urban agenda” that mirrors what he’s advocated in New York.
De Blasio has since taken his message to the U.K., where he addressed a Labour Party conference in September, and to meetings with mayors in Boston and Washington. Last month he visited Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa, which holds Feb. 2 caucuses that begin the Democratic and Republican parties’ 2016 presidential nominating process.
The mayor, who served in the City Council and as public advocate before his 2013 election, managed Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 bid to become a U.S. senator from New York, and in 1997 he worked in her husband’s administration for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He drew national headlines April 12 when he declined to endorse Clinton for president during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
De Blasio continued to withhold an endorsement Wednesday, while saying he’s optimistic about Clinton’s candidacy, and welcomed comments she’s made about criminal justice and immigration.
“She’s beginning to fashion a progressive agenda,” he said. “I think a lot of us understandably want to hear her core ideas around income inequality because that’s what a lot of people are struggling with,”