United States: Eric Adams takes office as mayor of New York



Eric Adams, African-American, former police officer and anti-racist trade unionist, takes this Saturday 1er January takes the reins of the economic and cultural capital of the eastern United States. Winner in November of a competitor of the Republican Party, Curtis Sliwa, he became, at the age of 61, the second black mayor in the history of New York, after David Dinkins (1990-1993).

A city hard hit by the pandemic

This centrist of the Democratic Party will have to continue the work of his predecessor Bill de Blasio, who, despite his unpopularity, piloted the city of more than eight million inhabitants in the storm of the pandemic that brought it to its knees (more 35,000 deaths). Anxious to show his attachment to tourism, it is from Times Square – with a public limited to 15,000 people – that he must take the oath, shortly after the festivities marking the start of the new year.

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In June, during the Democratic primaries which opposed him to the progressive candidate Maya Wiley, he had shown himself as a strong leader, defender of the middle and popular classes. The ex-police officer had also promised to be intractable against crime – on the rise, but still very far from the peaks of the 1990s.

Budget of 98 billion

Rather attached to the right wing of the Democratic Party – unlike Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, representative of New York in Congress – Eric Adams is known to be close to the business circles of the Big Apple (“Big Apple”), the financial lung of the planet.

This should weigh in its management of the largest municipal budget in the United States, 98.7 billion dollars (85.3 billion euros) for the fiscal year 2021-2022, devoted in part to the exit from the health crisis. Eric Adams will also control the largest police force in the country (NYPD, 36,000 employees). He entrusted the management to an African-American, Keechant Sewell, the first woman to hold the post. He will also oversee the huge public education system, strained by inequality and the Covid-19.

In addition to the end of the pandemic, Eric Adams will have to manage many sensitive issues: return to normal in Manhattan where thousands of businesses are closed and office towers remain half empty, glaring social inequalities, poor housing, poor infrastructure. state, bad weather … Not to mention the expected closure of Rikers Island, the terrible overcrowded, ultra-violent and unsanitary prison.

A pragmatist at the head of New York

Born in Brooklyn to a poor family, having flirted with crime in Queens as a teenager, he joined the police force in the mid-1980s at age 25 and spent twenty-two years there until the rank of captain. In 1995, he founded a union that fights against racism and began a political career with the Democratic Party. He was alternately Senator of the State of New York and President of the Brooklyn district, stepping stone to New York City Hall.

The new mayor will have to continue the reform of the police, accused of having in his ranks violent, racist and corrupt agents, but without alienating his former colleagues. The NYPD has been widely singled out for the violent crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Pragmatic, Eric Adams, however, like Joe Biden, rejects the slogan “Defund the police” (“Cut police funds”) chanted in 2020 by the American left.

Eric Adams has also entered less expected terrain. Becoming vegan in 2016 to treat his diabetes, the new mayor of New York, author of a cookbook, would like to convince African Americans to imitate him. He also expressed his intention to see his city become the “Center of the cryptocurrency industry”.

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