Maya Wiley, former legal counsel to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced her bid to succeed him as mayor in 2021.
The 56-year-old civil rights attorney and former media commentator touted her outsider status in a fundraising video she released.
“I am not a conventional candidate, but changing it up isn’t the risk,” she says, speaking from a sidewalk in Prospect Park South neighborhood in Brooklyn.
“Electing the same kinds of people, bringing the same old broken promises over and over again and expecting things will be different, that’s the risk we cant afford right now,” she says, which was understood as a subtle criticism to two of the race’s leading candidates, city Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“Not with 24,000 of our neighbors, friends and family members losing their lives to this pandemic and a historic economic crisis that’s causing our small businesses, the backbone of our economy, to shutter. Not with millions of New Yorkers wondering how they will afford to feed their kids and pay their rent.
In an apparent swipe at her former boss, who’s faced criticism from across the political aisle for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, she says, “And not with a crisis of confidence in our city’s leadership.”
But like de Blasio, Wiley says she wants to build a “stronger, fairer and more just city,” reminiscent of de Blasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” mantra during his mayoral campaign.
During the three years she acted as the mayor’s lawyer, he defended him in a fundraising scandal and supported keeping communications with independent aides, known as “agents of the city,” private. Eventually, De Blasio was forced to hand over the emails following a lawsuit local media outlets.
Wiley is entering a crowded field of Democratic contenders, including former de Blasio Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, the administration’s ex-Veterans Services Commissioner Ret. Brigadier General Loree Sutton, ex-Obama cabinet member Shaun Donovan, and nonprofit leader Dianne Morales, and of course Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa, grocery mogul John Catsimatidis, and Andrew Giuliani, son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have launched or are exploring bids on the Republican side.