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In 2018 Latino voters in New York city increased to 20% of the city’s total electorate. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
In 2018 Latino voters in New York city increased to 20% of the city’s total electorate. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Scott Stringer, candidate for NYC Mayor, has a Latino agenda. How do the others compare?

The NYC mayoral campaign is ramping up, and a couple are turning their attention to Latino voters.

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New York City mayoral candidate Scott Stringer launched a Latino-targeted campaign Sunday, Estamos Con Stringer. He is the first candidate to launch such a plan for his first 100 days in office, months before the primary election in June. 

Stringer was joined by prominent Latino officials, including Rep. Adriano Espaillat D-NY), New York Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa (NY-72), State Senator Jessica Ramos, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, State Senator Julia Salazar, State Senator José Serrano, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, and more, along with family members. 

Carlos Cuevas, Stringer’s stepfather, the first Latino New York City Clerk, and former Deputy Bronx Borough President, was also present at the event serving to present Stringer’s agenda to bring New York City’s Latino communities forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is personal to me — I would not be who I am today without the values and lessons that my stepfather, Carlos, and the entire Cuevas family taught me to uphold,” Stringer said. 

Rep. Espaillat moderated the event Sunday morning. He first endorsed Springer in Oct. 2020.

“The day he endorsed me, literally right here in the street, everyone called me and said, ‘well that’s it, you’re done, you’re mayor.’ Because he doesn’t just endorse, you know what he does, he wins,” Stringer recalled at the event. 

De La Rosa took to the podium to emphasize Stringer’s connection to the Latino communities in New York, even through the COVID-19 pandemic when many of those with resources to leave, did. 

“There has been one thing missing in this community. And it has been access and respect for the people that have built this city. Immigrant New Yorkers, like myself, like many of the people that are here. This community is the heart of the Dominican community,” De La Rosa said. 

The main points of Stringer’s plan include an overhaul of NYC’s pandemic response by launching the largest-ever citywide outreach campaign to ensure more Latinos are enrolled in affordable insurance and access to health care. 

He also wants to expand access to grants and tax credits to small, independent and local Latino-owned businesses recovering from the pandemic, and to get aspiring entrepreneurs to start a business in high-vacancy areas.

The plan includes expanding opportunities for Community College of New York (CUNY) students, making it free for all, including for more than 38,000 Latino students “regardless of immigration status,” and ensuring a jobs pipeline for Latinos in the green workforce through a Green New Deal for NYC. 

Other initiatives “guarantee summer jobs for all, “bring healthy food to every neighborhood” to combat food deserts, “end language discrimination,” and “protect New Yorkers from ICE.”

Additionally, the agenda is separated into five sections ranging from addressing disparities, and delivering justice to immigrant communities. 

Stringer’s plan is similar to efforts and outlines made by the Biden campaign in the final months before the election. The difference is there is a first-hand connection through family, and now in mid-March, the mayoral primary election is months away. 

In 2018, Latino voters in New York city increased to 20% of the city’s total electorate.

Whenever appealing to the various Latino communities, there is always the danger of grouping them all together into general statements and ignoring the nuances. 

“From the Mexican community in South Brooklyn; to Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in Uptown Manhattan and the Bronx, to the Colombian community in Jackson Heights; from trans liberation and civil rights icon Silvia Rivera, to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, to acclaimed author Julia Alvarez — there’s no New York City, past or future, without Latinos, Latinas, and Latinx New Yorkers, and it’s on the next Mayor to deliver for Latinos throughout New York City."

Whether he will face the monolith pitfall in the future is yet to be seen, but he does make the distinction — by referring to the various “Latino communities” in New York. At the event, Espaillat also made a roll-call of sorts, to all the different countries of origin at the presser. 

But in any case, what makes Stringer’s initiative most striking is he is the only one to put this much effort, this early on, into directly appealing to New York's Latino voting population. 

Stringer even pointedly mentioned that he knows what a bodega is, in reference to fellow mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang’s since-memed campaign video. 

“Maybe it’s time to have a mayor who gets that, right?” he said. 

Hours after Stringer’s Latino Agenda announcement, Yang went on Telemundo New York, to brief the Spanish-speaking community — who don’t only watch Telemundo or Univision, by the way — on his proposals as mayor. 

“I know how important small businesses are.” he said. “One of my main goals as mayor is to help small businesses overcome this crisis so that people have the resources so that small business owners here in our area and our communities can have the jobs they need.”

Yang focused on the economy,  jobs, and housing, key points for the Latino voting demographics. He also touched on rising crime rates and mentioned the issue of underreported crime in both the Asian-American and Latino communities. 

Yang finished by confirming he would continue New York’s status as a sanctuary city, and touched on disparities in vaccine rollout. 

He proposed reducing the age limit in communities with higher Black and Latino populations to increase the vaccination rate in the neighborhoods with lower turnout

The co-coordinator of his campaign is Ritchie Torres,  who represents the Bronx, he mentioned, he also made sure to mention his other campaign coordinator is Latino as well. 

Other major candidates for mayor include:

  1. Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President
  2. Shaun Donovan, Former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget
  3. Kathryn Garcia, Former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Sanitation
  4. Raymond McGuire, Former Citigroup executive
  5. Carlos Menchaca, NYC Councillor for Brooklyn's District 38[
  6. Dianne Morales, former social services non-profit CEO
  7. Maya Wiley, Professor, Legal Defense fund Attorney, also recently endorsed by Rep. Nydia Velazquez. 
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