Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is ramping up his public push for universal pre-kindergarten, and his wife, Chirlane McCray, is playing an increasingly visible role in the effort. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
If you watch the video on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's new pre-k website, you just might recognize the narrator's voice. It belongs to the city's next first lady, Chirlane McCray.
"If I had not already been married to Chirlane McCray and I heard her voiceover, let's just say I would have tried to get her phone number," de Blasio said.
McCray has already taking a leading, albeit unofficial, role in her husband's transition. She is at the table for interviews with potential administration appointees, and de Blasio said that the two of them make key decisions together.
But her decision to narrate the pre-k campaign video is a sign that she may be interested in doing even more. This could be the first major policy matter she puts her stamp on.
"There's no official role, but I'm going to help out in any way I can," McCray said. "There's nothing more important than investing in our children, and I want to see it happen."
De Blasio wants to raise taxes on New Yorkers who make more than $500,000 a year to pay for the preschool and after-school programs. The tax hike requires approval from Albany, which is expected to be difficult to accomplish.
The mayor-elect said that he is trying to build a grassroots campaign to get it done.
"The poll numbers are already extraordinary, but we need it to keep growing, and we need all of the leaders in Albany to feel the energy at the grassroots level," de Blasio said.
He launched a website, upknyc.org, and announced a new campaign committee to advocate for the proposal. Members include such bold-faced names as actress Cynthia Nixon, movie producer Harvey Weinstein, musician John Legend, the Rev. Al Sharpton and actress Olivia Wilde.
As for de Blasio's search for a new schools chancellor, he said he has not made anyone an offer yet, but he said that we can expect an announcement soon.