Christine Quinn

Christine_quinnI had the pleasure of having lunch yesterday with Christine Quinn.  Christine Quinn currently holds one of the most  powerful jobs in New York City, Speaker of the City Council.  She had served six years on the City Council before running for Speaker.   

Running for office gives someone an opportunity to shake a lot of hands, talk to a lot of people and listen to the needs of your city.  It also gives the city a chance to know who you are.  There are many people in our city who have high ranking jobs such as Comptroller or Borough President who have literally no name recognition on the streets of NYC.  Christine Quinn is the opposite.  It could be because she is the first woman and openly gay person to be the Speaker of the City Council.  It could also be because she is smart, committed to issues that she is passionate about vs. buckling to political sway, she is charming and she gets it.  My guess is it isn’t the latter that most people know her for but in time, that will change.

She is very supportive of Bloomberg.  But what happens when Bloombergs time is up?  What are the areas in the city that might need addressing that Bloomberg can try to address but can’t get there quite yet because there need to be the right ducks in a row to get there.  Affordable housing is a big one.  As Manhattan becomes more expensive every day where do people who can’t afford to live here go?  How do we create affordable housing for cops, artists, nurses, construction workers, teachers, district attorneys, etc.  I could go on and on. 

What if we are resigned to the fact that Manhattan is going to continue to become too expensive to live in.  There are 7 areas in Manhattan where the majority of crimes take place.  Why can’t we clean up those neighborhoods through social programs, tax incentives, etc.  How come those areas can’t be healthy, clean environments to live in?  How do we create environments for more young companies to sprout up and grow?  What is the next step ( many more need to be taken ) in the public school system.  There are a variety of excellent elementary schools and high schools but finding the appropriate middle school is much more difficult.  That is a challenge.  All of these issues are issues that Christine is not only passionate about but has been part of her mantra since she has been in city Government.

I am looking forward to getting behind Christine Quinn.  She reminds me of one of my favorite US Senators, Claire McCaskill.  Smart, sharp, honest politicians that don’t sway from their beliefs.  The major difference between the two is Claire is a mid-western girl and Christine is a die-hard New Yorker.