Eric Adams takes office marking a new era for New York City

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Susanna Keiserman, Staff Writer

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Eric Adams was inaugurated as the Mayor of New York City, following Bill de Blasio’s eight years in office.  Eric Adams brings his life and work experience to the job, and has a background unlike any of the previous New York mayors. 

Growing up in Brooklyn, Adams was drawn to law enforcement after he and his brother were beaten by police officers.  He pursued a career as a police officer after earning an Associate in Arts degree from the New York City College of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College.

In 1984, Adams graduated from the New York City Police Academy and served in law enforcement for 22 years, rising to the rank of captain.  In 1995, he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a nationwide organization that spoke out against racial profiling and brutality in policing.  Adams was also president of Grand Council of Guardians, a group of black law enforcement officers in New York.  From there, he served in the New York State Senate from 2006 to 2013 before being elected as Brooklyn Borough President, the first person of color to take on the role.

Adams announced his bid for Mayor of New York City in November of 2020.  Following his announcement, he ran against progressive candidates such as Maya Wiley and other moderates like Kathryn Garcia in the Democratic primary, which is conducted with ranked-choice voting.  Adams won the primary with 404,513 total votes (50.4%), which was a margin of nearly 7,200 votes (.8%) over Garcia.  In the November general election, Adams, with 271,834 votes (72.8% overall) beat Republican Curtis Sliwa by a margin of 187,308 votes (50.2%).

Adams’ goals focus largely on making New York City a safer place to live, increasing access to government services for those who need them, and promoting economic growth. 

To increase the accessibility of government services, Adams has proposed a single digital platform called MyCity where New Yorkers will be able to find all government programs in one place and then easily take advantage of them.  To encourage involvement in government and representation, he also promoted the policy of giving tax-paying, legal immigrants who have not yet been granted citizenship the right to vote in certain local elections.  This measure passed, and it will go into effect Jan. 9, 2023.

“I think it’s really great that law-abiding non-citizens will be able to vote and be properly represented because even if they haven’t achieved full citizenship yet, they’re still being affected by the policies passed,” said junior Sharmishtha Talukdar.

Additionally, Adams has high hopes for the city’s economy and the ability to promote it, while also aiming to slow climate change by investing in green jobs and energy.  “I hope that Mayor Adams can make significant changes in NYC’s sustainable energy output.  As a major city in the world, NYC should strive to be the pinnacle of renewable energies  and eco-friendliness,” said junior Mareks Woodside.

He plans to  provide additional aid for low-income New Yorkers through the NYCAid program, give subsidized or free childcare for those who need it, and increase small low-income housing options.  Adams would also like to promote success for a diverse mix of businesses, offering tax breaks and reducing fees and fines for all small businesses while prioritizing those owned by women and minorities.

In terms of education, Adams and his administration seek to improve the city’s system by creating and investing in more mentorship programs for children who age out of the foster care system and providing significantly more opportunities for schools to match students with prospective internships and jobs.

“I think that it’s really important that these changes are made to benefit underprivileged members of the public.  Especially with education, it’s already hard enough to get into college and plan your future at a good school with a lot of support, so I think that it is essential that students who don’t have access to that kind of support and guidance already are given it in the future,” said junior Tarah Parmar. 

Perhaps Adams’ main goals are those associated with the reform and support of the NYPD.  With his background in policing, as well as his first-hand experience with police violence, Adams wants to promote safety while preventing racial discrimination.  He would like to civilianize parts of the NYPD.  This effort would work by having police focus on conducting investigations and preventing crime, while hiring “ordinary” citizens for jobs such as moving barricades or desk work, potentially saving $500 million each year, which Adams hopes will be invested in crime-reduction programs.  

Adams also plans to send top NYPD officers to executive leadership training.  In addition to supporting the police force, he aims to decrease crime by attentively managing gun ownership, transforming the anti-crime unit into an anti-gun unit, and closing in on handgun possession.  In an effort to curb discrimination and promote diversity, Adams plans on “removing overly aggressive cops,” according to his website.  He also hopes to recruit more officers of color, publicize the list of cops flagged for misbehavior, and make it easier for police officers to anonymously report colleagues.  Finally, Adams has already hired the first female police commissioner.

“I really like that he’s paying attention to, and responding to, high levels of gun violence, both with ownership restriction but also with stopping a lot of crime at its root causes by increasing access to crisis and addiction sources.  If Adams can carry on this attitude of approaching problems with nuance and offering different solutions, I think he’ll make a good mayor,” said junior Rianna Baecher.