De Blasio Aims for Economic Equality for New York
BYLINE: Edith Honan Reuters
NEW YORK: Liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio cruised to victory yesterday in the race to succeed New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the first time a Democrat has captured City Hall in two decades.
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, was leading Republican rival Joe Lhota 73 percent to 24 percent after a campaign in which he railed against economic inequality in America's most populous city, with 56 percent of precincts reporting.
"My fellow New Yorkers: today, you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction in our city, united by a belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind," De Blasio told a gathering of 2 000 revellers on Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
"The growing inequality we see, the crisis of affordability we face, it has been decades in the making. But its slow creep upon this city cannot weaken our resolve."
After promising to close the gap between the rich and poor, he faces the challenge of high expectations - keeping crime at historic lows and reaching a long overdue wage deal with the city workers' unions.
The 1.96m tall De Blasio won a hotly contested Democratic primary in September by focusing on the "stop-and-frisk" police tactic endorsed by Bloomberg and by criticising the billionaire mayor for presiding over "two New Yorks" - one rich, one poor.
He promoted expanding access to pre-kindergarten, proposing a tax on the city's highest earners to pay for it, and said he would fight to save community hospitals from closing. …