NEW YORK — Maya Wiley, a civil rights activist who formerly served as Mayor Bill de Blasio's chief counsel, is officially running for mayor.
Wiley announced her bid to succeed her former boss in a video posted to social media Wednesday evening:
"I want to build a New York where — no matter who you are or what you look like, how you identify or who you love, whether you have a big bank account or none at all, whether you live in public housing or luxury condos — you can live a life with dignity and opportunity in this city," Wiley says in the video.
Wiley is expected to publicly launch her campaign on Thursday at the public plaza outside the Brooklyn Museum. She will be joined by leaders from all five boroughs, according to the campaign in addition to State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who will endorse her campaign.
Wiley has never held public office. After serving as de Blasio's top lawyer, she was appointed chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the city's independent police oversight agency, in 2016.
Wiley currently serves as the senior vice president for Social Justice at The New School. She has been expected to jump into the race for months and is now one of the most prominent Black women to run in what is expected to be a crowded field ahead of the Democratic primary.
So far, only City Comptroller Scott Stringer has made his campaign launch official. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former Obama and Bloomberg administration veteran Shaun Donovan, and others, including former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Department of Veteran Services Commissioner Loree Sutton, are all expected to run.
At this early stage in the race, it is unclear what kind of voter base Wiley would target among the city's Democratic electorate, and she is starting her candidacy at a significant deficit when it comes to fundraising. Some of her potential rivals have spent months raising money for their run.
In the last few years Wiley has also become a regular on cable news, something she prominently features at the beginning of her campaign launch video. During regular cable appearances on MSNBC, she often speaks about the Department of Justice, the Trump Administration, and police reform. At the height of police brutality protests over the summer, she was critical of her former boss, and called for the removal of Police Commissioner Dermot Shea over his handling of the protests.
Wiley recently ended her contract with MSNBC, but has continued to make regular appearances without getting paid, managing to capture coveted air time watched by potential liberal supporters in New York City.
Wiley's time in the de Blasio administration is sure to become a central criticism of during the race.
During her tenure as de Blasio's top lawyer, she advised him on fundraising matters that resulted in scandal and led to a federal investigation into the mayor and his top advisers.
As those investigations picked up steam, Wiley referred to de Blasio's outside advisers as "Agents of the City," a carefully crafted title she used to justify City Hall's refusal to release emails between the mayor and his advisers to reporters who sought their release through public disclosure laws.The attempt to protect the correspondence resulted in a lawsuit by media organizations, including NY1.
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