New Mayor Bill de Blasio: But What are His Thoughts on Food?

On Tuesday, November 5th, Bill de Blasio won the mayoral race in New York City. He beat out his opponent Joe Lhota to become the first democratic mayor for the city in twenty years. Mr. de Blasio is well known for his solidly liberal leanings: the ending of stop-and-frisk, more affordable public housing, higher taxes for universal pre-kindergarten. He appealed to voters of all racial, religious, ethnic and socio-economic background; indeed his inter-racial family and cozy life in Brooklyn made him a relatable candidate across New York.

de Blasio and family celebrate his win (Photo: AP photo/Kathy Willens)

Here at HowGood, we’re wondering how Mr. de Blasio’s election will impact the food system. His predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, was an advocate for healthier, sustainable eating- we all remember the soda ban. While Mr. de Blasio has clearly distanced himself from most of Mr. Bloomberg’s politics and policies, it seems the two have some similar thoughts on food. Mr. de Blasio has vowed to uphold Mr. Bloomberg’s soda ban, and intends to make it a reality. “We are losing the war on obesity,” he said, “it’s unacceptable. This is a case where we need to get aggressive.”

Bill de Blasio holds a press conference in front of a Burger King (Photo: Twitter/@deBlasioNYC)

There are of course some strict differences between the new mayor and Mr. Bloomberg. Mr. de Blasio is an ardent supporter of higher wages, particularly for fast food workers. At a recent press conference at a Burger King, he told cheering crowds that “These workers…deserve the right to unionization so they can have decent wages and benefits- and the companies involved pay what is appropriate, [so] people can feed their families…”

Mr. de Blasio also has a clear set of goals for protecting food security for low income New Yorkers. His initiatives include universal breakfast and lunch for school children, removing application barriers for SNAP enrollment, and improving healthy food options for New Yorkers enrolled in SNAP.

On Mr. de Blasio’s campaign website, he outlines his intention for a more sustainable and healthy New York. He plans to “promote a locally-grown, self-reliant food economy to ensure access to healthier foods” (although no word on exactly how he will do this).

This is an exciting time for our city, and we’re hoping that Mr. de Blasio will be able to pull through on these important campaign issues.

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