NYC mayoral candidate Dianne Morales talks latest polls, policing, homelessness, education, mental health

New York Elections

NEW YORK — The countdown to primary day is on. With less than one week away, the candidates for New York City mayor continue to campaign and reach out to voters.

Candidate Dianne Morales spoke with PIX11 Morning News about the latest polls, ranked choice voting, the recent mayoral debate, policing, homelessness and education.

Latest polls

The latest polls had Morals at the bottom of the pack. Early voting is well underway, but how does she see a path to victory with polling ranks so low?

Morales acknowledged lower ranks in the polling and reminded New Yorkers her campaign didn’t start doing as much campaign and advertisement until recently.

She also said there’s still a good amount of people who remain undecided, so she hopes to reach out to them and listen to what they have to say.

“It’s still anyone’s race to win,” she said. 

Ranked choice voting

New Yorkers get to use ranked choice voting this year. Are you telling people to rank you as their second or third pick to help bring her to the top?

Morales said with ranked choice voting, “people get to vote with their values.”

Does Morales have a No. 2 pick? She said she currently does not, but she’s looking into it.

Recent mayoral debate

During Wednesday night’s debate, Morales had a fiery exchange with Ray McGuire about policing.

She told McGuire he “doesn’t speak for Black and Brown communities.”

Morales said McGuire was making a sweeping generalization statement around the Black and Brown community and speaking for everyone in that community was problematic.

“I took offense to that,” she said.

Policing and gun violence

How does Morales plan to zero-in on guns?

“Crime has risen despite the fact that we have the largest, most loaded police force and budget it the country if not the world,” she said.

Morales said gun violence needs to be treated as the public health issue that it is.

The city needs to get to the root of it in the education and health perspective and engage with the communities most challenged by it. 

Morales said there hasn’t been enough done to provide economic and housing support people need.

Washington Square Park and clashes with police

Would she have done it differently?

When police are sent to respond to these instances, things escalate, according to Morales.

The city should focus on getting people actually trained to deescalate and are respectful to city rights to intervene

Mental health and mental illness

Morales said the city continues to conflate mental health and mental illness with crime, which is dangerously close to stigmatizing mental health.

She also criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for calling to move homeless residents in hotels back into shelters.

She believes the city should leave them in hotels until they build affordable housing for them.

Education

Would Morales mandate vaccinations in schools?

She said she would not mandate mask-wearing and that “the right way to go is vax or mask.”

Morales said she is also open to blended learning and keeping some sort of remote option as some students did do better with remote learning, adding that it’s important to think about how to blend them together. 

Remote option? There’s something to be said about blended learning and some children did do better with remote learning. It’s important to think about how to blend them together.

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