January 16, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Former New York City Comptroller John Liu – the first Asian-American to be elected to city-wide office – has yet to announce what his next career move might be, but he says that the wave of progressivism that has swept the town will soon serve as a model for the entire nation.
“We’ve had a very successful election season where the voters of New York City have very much decided they wanted a change in direction,” Liu told LaborPress this week.
The 43rd comptroller of the City of New York – who might be mulling over a Congressional run – dropped by the offices of DC1707 on Tuesday to thank the union and its members for their unwavering support of his mayoral candidacy.
DC1707 Executive Director Raglan George, Jr. lauded Liu’s “compassion” and “judgement” and called the thrice-elected member of the New York City Council representing Queens Councilmanic District 20, “One of the best leaders we’ve ever had.”
“I hope he stays around,” George added.
While his mayoral bid ultimately fell short, Liu said that he is “not going away,” and that he expects big changes from the de Blasio administration.
“It will be a stark contrast to the administration and city government over the past 12, possibly 20 years,” Liu said. “We have a wave of progressivism that has clearly swept the city. I believe that the changes that will happen in New York City will spread across the country. Because some of the problems we have in New York City – particularly in income inequality and also police and community relations, if we fix them in New York City – we can help fix them everywhere else in this nation.”
At the same time, the outgoing comptroller who distinguished himself in office saving New York City billions through audits and contract reviews, as well as garnering impressive returns on pension investments, conceded that powerful opposition remains.
“There’s still some big money and deep pocketed interests that prefer the status quo,” Liu said. “But as the people have shown in the 2013 elections, change is not only achievable, but well underway.”
Liu promised to stick close to DC1707 while considering future career options, praising members as the very antithesis of fair weather friends – calling them “blizzard condition friends.”
“I’m taking my time, teaching at Baruch,” Liu added. “I’m not going to rush into anything. But I’m already far beyond anything that I thought would happen in my life.”
To show their appreciation for his achievements, DC 1707 members presented the 47-year-old Liu with a special plaque. The group also presented their executive director with an award commemorating his year-long one-man march to protect early childhood education in New York City.
DC1707 President Kim Medina saluted George’s achievement saying, “I don’t know of any other labor leader who would have done what you did.”