Editor’s note: This piece is one of five pieces, about each of the Democratic presidential candidates, published on Monday, March 2, the day before Super Tuesday.
There are few tougher jobs in American politics than being the mayor of a large city. Governors may get more attention, and senators may give more prominent speeches, but local government is where politics touches people’s lives most directly.
From public education to transportation, from public health to public safety, these issues move rapidly and leave little room for error. Mike Bloomberg did that job as mayor of New York. His tenure was known not just for competent handling of issues like these — which is impressive enough — but also for transformation of a city emerging from a long legacy of challenges.
I saw those challenges first hand. I started my career as an aide to Mayor John Lindsay in New York and then as deputy mayor to Kevin White in Boston. Large cities were the front lines for the battles over civil rights, gay rights, the women’s movement and the Vietnam War — and their financial viability was far from certain.
When Mike became mayor, these controversies had simmered for decades. The city was just emerging from the horror of 9/11. There could not have been a more difficult moment in which to lead.
What was true of New York City in 2001 is even truer of America in 2020. Our moment demands both competence and transformation — a commitment to prosperity, which Mike the entrepreneur knows how to create, but also to our responsibilities to each other, an ethic Mike restored as mayor.
There is no question Mike made mistakes. What separates him from others is that he can admit to his mistakes and learn from them.
Mike’s entire career, from business to City Hall to his philanthropy, has been an exercise in transformational leadership. The company he founded transformed how businesses receive news and make decisions. This is genuine entrepreneurship — not simply cutting deals, but creating value. He has been a powerful advocate for climate change and for gun control and has been willing to put his money and his time behind those causes he believes in — including defeating Donald Trump.
Those are qualities America needs with particular urgency after a period of anger, division and chaotic governance. This is a moment for competence, healing and transformation. Mike Bloomberg has a gift for all three. On Tuesday, with both admiration and hope, I will vote for him for president.