Shaun Donovan spent eight years in Washington as President Barack Obama’s housing secretary and budget director. Now, he’s getting ready to serve his city.
Raised in Manhattan and now living in brownstone Brooklyn, he is building up for a competitive mayoral race and hoping for a Joe Biden win this November.
“Every family, no matter how they look like, no matter where they come from, no matter what language they speak, they got to be able to raise a family and have the opportunities of New York the way I have,” Donovan said.
He likes to talk about Biden and Obama, and also about his friendship with vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. He’s not as talkative when it comes to his former boss in New York, mayor Michael Bloomberg, for whom he served as housing commissioner.
“Mike Bloomberg was a strong leader, he was a great manager, and I think New Yorkers across the city would agree we need a better manager in City Hall, and I learned a lot from Mike Bloomberg about how to manage,” Donovan said.
Strong leadership might be one of the qualities New Yorkers will be looking for in a new mayor. Also, a better relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo, with whom Donovan worked in the '90s.
“Mayor de Blasio has put his ego ahead of the people of New York City. We need to make the subways work, and the mayor and the governor have to be partners in doing that,” Donovan said, adding that he’s committed to using the subway every day if he becomes mayor.
Other candidates in the June Democratic primary for mayor include City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn García, nonprofit executive Dianne Morales and former de Blasio adviser Maya Wiley. Sarcastically, last week, de Blasio wondered why anybody would want his job.
Despite the huge challenges, Donovan says he’s not shying away.
“These are the moments that you really know what leadership is. Firefighters run into fires. They don’t run away from fires,” Donovan said.