Christine Quinn's Diary: A Day In My Life On The Mayoral Campaign
My favorite part of political life is talking to people.
Getting to know New Yorkers gives me great joy –- and knowing that I'm able to make a difference in their lives and in the life of the city I love fiercely has inspired me over two decades in public service. It inspired me to take on bad landlords as a tenant activist 25 years ago, just as it inspired me to take a risk and run to be the first woman Speaker of the New York City Council. It is what inspires me to visit neighborhoods all across the city and walk and talk -– or as I say, wawk and tawk, with all city dwellers as I run for Mayor of New York City.
I want to be there for each person I talk to every day, whether it's outside a school in Brooklyn, at a subway stop in Queens, a senior center in the Bronx, at a greenmarket in Staten Island or even as I walk my dogs on the West Side of Manhattan in the early mornings.
I want to make this city soar, with the best schools, the safest streets, the most creative hubs and especially for it be a place where all women and families thrive and feel strong and empowered.
Here's what a day on the trail looks like, this week as I listen to New Yorkers, and ask for their support. They have mine.
I start out very early, after walking our two rescue dogs, Sadie and Justin, and getting coffee. Kim, my wife whom I married almost a year-and-a-half ago, usually gets an early start also (she's a lawyer) to head to her office. But these days she has been getting out on the campaign trail –- and way out of her comfort zone, she's very private –- so she is up and getting ready to to head out to talk to voters. I try to hit Soul Cycle early, but we are in the final days before the Primary, so no go.
After leaving home, I stop by Good Day New York, on Channel Five here in NYC, to talk about the race and some of the most important issues facing New Yorkers as we look forward to a new Mayor -– education, housing, jobs and affordability are what I hear the most about. Since it's the home stretch of the race, I also talk polls and politics.
Following Good Day, I'm headed out to Queens; I use the ride to read the papers on my iPad, keep in touch with staff and volunteers; and check in with my father, who just turned 87 and has been hitting the campaign trail as hard as I have every day.
Once over the bridge, we wind our way to Jackson Avenue in Long Island City where City Councilman Jimmy van Bramer and I, surrounded by volunteers with signs and leaflets, fan out to do what's called "visibility" in political jargon. This morning we're at a high-traffic subway stop, greeting folks on their way to work and to school.
Being New Yorkers, nobody is shy about coming right up to me and telling me what's on their mind. It's here that I get my best ideas. One hot issue in NYC is Transportation –- specifically, commute times. I have several proposals –- inspired by hearing directly from New Yorkers at subway stops just like this –- to make sure we modernize and streamline public transportation so that no commute within the city is over an hour.
You can tell rush hour is over at about 9:30, as crowds thin out. We head up to the Bronx for the first of several stops, but not before a young mother, with two little girls with backpacks, breathlessly rush up to me with hugs and excitement.
"I want be Mayor too!" the younger girl, maybe 7, shouts. I think she can be! The enthusiasm, support and love that I receive on the trail every day from women and girls is incredible and pushes me even harder.
In the Bronx, I team up with State Senator Gustavo Rivera -– a rising star and a young leader who is a breath of fresh air in politics. We walk and talk to voters in Senior Centers, on commercial streets filled with small businesses, and on playgrounds and outside schools, and at supermarkets and subway stops. The topics range from improving public schools -– a must that's at the very top of my agenda as Mayor –- to making sure that women and girls have equal access to healthcare, education and business opportunities.
I love it when voters spontaneously push in with their own energy and enthusiasm –- that's what it's all about, right? Like the bus driver who stopped to yell out, "We love you Christine!" during a street side press conference, or the man who yells out as he ran by, "We want a woman in charge!" (I agree!), or the teenagers with baseball caps and iPods who high-five me on the sidewalk and yell out, "Go Chris!"
At a senior center late in the day, a Latina grandmother holds my hand to tell me that she had a long conversation, "with the man upstairs" while she prayed for victory. That brought tears to my eyes -- it makes me think of my own mother, who died when I was young –- and her mother, who against all odds survived the Titanic over a hundred years ago as she fought to get to this country.
Walking down the street with volunteers, voters, colleagues and community leaders throughout the day, and into the night, I love being surrounded by New Yorkers –- and that they feel they can share their dreams and their frustrations New Yorkers need a strong leader who will deliver results and make the city stronger, happier, more vibrant and more innovative than ever before. And I'm confident that with the help of every man, woman –- especially women! -– and child I've been meeting, that will be the result once the votes are counted next week, on September 10th.
It's been great sharing my day with all of you!
[Now vote!! ]