Up Close With NYC's Mayoral Candidates: Bill Thompson (D)
This isn’t former Comptroller Bill Thompson’s first rodeo. Four years ago he ran against and lost to Mayor Bloomberg by 4.6 percent, but this race has been different altogether. Last time around it was his adamant stance on term limits that lit a fire under his campaign; in this race he may not have such a clear rallying point.
Thompson is a savvy politician with friends and endorsements all over town (including endorsements by two of the largest unions in New York City - United Federation of Teachers and United Uniformed Workers of New York), but his campaign may be suffering due to his low profile. In New York City’s current political climate of sex-scandal comeback kids and other publicity stunts, the candidate has been referred to as “boring” or worse - hasn’t been referred to at all. But Thompson says he is unconcerned.
Bill Thompson believes in a focus on critical thinking as opposed to standardized test scores. He has not come out against charter schools, though his record as President of the Board of Education indicates his desire for a more centralized school system and a strong opposition to vouchers.
Safety and Crime Prevention
In part of his plan for a safer New York City, Thompson has said he hopes to increase the police force by 2,000 officers. He says he can do this restructuring the department, not at the taxpayers’ expense.
Thompson says he believes that all New Yorkers have a fundamental right to quality, affordable healthcare. As New York City Comptroller, Thompson says he understood that the rising cost of healthcare and the rapidly decreasing access to healthcare services is literally a life-and-death matter for thousands of New Yorkers. Some of his ideas for improving health care include streamlining of enrollment requirements for publicly-funded health insurance programs, and a multi-pronged approach to reducing income-based healthcare disparities.
Bill Thompson says he has worked tirelessly throughout his career to spur healthy and responsible economic development for our city, its communities and its people. As a trustee to four of the five City Pension Funds and chief investment adviser to all five funds, he says he used his reach and resources to build healthy and growing communities. He has highlighted the growing impact and needs of self-employed New Yorkers, who account for about one-half of New York City’s job growth, and called on the City to increase its support for Career and Technical Education high schools, helping students develop marketable skills as they complete high school.
Thompson is an avid critic of NYCHA leadership and it’s disservice to the people living in public housing. He has called for the chairman’s resignation on multiple occasions, and put forth plans to redistribute funding in public housing to repair buildings, keep senior and youth centers open, and make the areas safer. He wants more affordable, middle-income housing built in New York City, as opposed to luxury housing.
Thompson says he has worked to shape an economic climate conducive to success for small businesses and entrepreneurs and that he understands that a skilled workforce is key to New York City’s future growth. He has proposed a formal budget reserve to maintain fiscal stability through troubling economic times and volatile revenues. He believes in changing tax regulations that “burden” small business like the unincorporated business tax.
Thompson says he recognizes the importance of a reliable, affordable mass transit system. He says rising fares, increasing commuting times, and decreasing service reliability create hardship for working New Yorkers and negatively affect the local economy. As Comptroller, he identified $725 million that could be used to eliminate the 2008 and 2009 fare hikes and proposed a weight-based auto surcharge to generate annual revenue.
Bill Thompson has been an advocate for environmental protection by being a proponent of recycling, green construction, and responsible waste management.