With some in New York questioning if someone who worked for the de Blasio administration is the correct person to replace him as mayor, Kathryn Garcia’s experience is one of the main reasons she should be elected, the mayoral candidate said.
Garcia, a former NYC Sanitation Department commissioner, has a management background in departments across New York City; she served as interim head of the New York City Housing Authority and as food czar for the city as residents struggled with financial insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was required to step up over and over again during multiple crises, but during my administration, we shouldn’t need to have someone to step up because we should have the people in place from day one to get the job done,” she said in an exclusive forum with PIX11’s Ayana Harry and Henry Rosoff.
With crime topping the list of issues New Yorkers care about in a poll and George Floyd on residents’ minds just over a year after his death, Garcia said her experience heading up the Sanitation Department until her resignation can also come in handy.
“I know that, as the one who managed a uniformed agency, [I] can get a real culture change because there’s a lot of things we need to do: increase the age of officers, have them live in the city,” she said.
Garcia wants to reform the NYPD, but she does not want to defund the department.
“We can walk and chew gum,” Garcia said. “We can have reform of the police department where everyone feels safe in their neighborhoods regardless of the color of their skin because I know we have to still fight crime.”
Crime has risen in the city in recent months; shootings are up along with incidents of antisemitic and Asian hate crimes. There have also been a number of recent attacks in the city’s subway system. Garcia views a fix there as critical toward New York’s recovery from the pandemic.
She called for more police in the subway system and also more mental health professionals.
“That’s our arteries, that’s how we get around, that’s how we go to school, that’s how we get to work,” she said. “You can’t get Midtown thriving again without it.”
As for what Garcia’s planned to do once Midtown is back? She wants to see “Hamilton” again.
“Plays are very intense, I think I need a little bit of whimsy,” she said.
Garcia also answered questions on NYCHA and if she’d vote for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the next gubernatorial election. Watch the full interview to find out these answers and more.