On Thursday, City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca officially announced his bid to become the next mayor of New York City.
Menchaca is the first Mexican American to be elected to public office in New York state and is the only openly gay elected official from Brooklyn, according to his website. If elected, he would be the first openly gay mayor of New York City and first non-white mayor in 30 years.
Menchaca has strong activist roots and unseated a 12-year incumbent in 2013 to represent the largely Latino 38th Council District, which includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights and parts of Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights and Borough Park. Since then, a wave of progressive candidates have unseated Democratic incumbents across the city, notably in this year's primary elections.
In the City Council, Menchaca serves as Chair of the Committee on Immigration and is a fierce advocate for immigrants rights, economic equality and social justice. He supports defunding the NYPD and opposes Immigration Customs and Enforcement working in the city.
In his release video, Menchaca said he was running for mayor to do better for those who had lost their homes and livelihoods with the recession, with the pandemic and because of wealthy developers rezoning and developing their neighborhoods.
In the video, he talked about his upbringing with a single mother in Texas' public housing system, and how he used to wake up at 4 a.m. to clean libraries with her each morning before school. "This fight is personal to me."
"As a gay child of immigrants, discrimination is a pain I know all too well. We need a mayor to stand up to the wealthy and the powerful and put our communities first," he said. "I love our city and I love the people, and as mayor I will fight for you every day."
If elected, he said he would forge a bold and progressive plan for the city's future, "not retreat to the status quo that has failed us."
In an interview with City & State New York, Menchaca said New York City was demanding a progressive mayor. "So many people have lost their positions because they have not figured out how to listen to the people who are demanding that kind of change," he said. "What I want to do is reflect that momentum."
Menchaca was one of the most vocal opponents of the recently withdrawn Industry City proposal for Sunset Park. The development pitched him against other Democrats and the real estate industry, which is now spending tens of thousands of dollars to campaign against him, City & State New York reports.
Of the coronavirus pandemic, he told City & State New York it completely changed the way he understood his role in the city.
"I think about these last seven years, and I didn't know what they were going to prepare me for. But I now know that every single moment has prepared me for this moment, to be able to step into this office, understand how it works, understand how it doesn't work, to be able to fix it and reconnect it back to its source, which is the people."