Bill de Blasio: New York 'won't wait' to tackle inequality

Updated: 2014-01-02 08:30

By Wan Li in New York (China Daily USA)

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On the chilly first day of 2014, Bill De Blasio took the oath to be New York City's 109th mayor at a ceremony on the steps of City Hall, accompanied by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their children, Chiara and Dante. De Blasio, 52, is the first Democrat to hold the position in 20 years, since former mayor David Dinkins lost to Republican Rudy Giuliani in 1993.

In his inaugural speech Wednesday, Democrat Bill de Blasio focused on the issue of inequality and repeatedly pledged to tackle New York's "tale of two cities".

"When I said we would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it," he said. "And we will do it. I will honor the faith and trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as one city. We know this won't be easy. It will require all that we can muster."

"That mission - our march towards a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation - it begins today," he said.

De Blasio outlined some major promises, including pledging to create universal access to pre-Kindergarten and middle school after-school programs.

"We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full-day universal pre-K, and after-school programs for every middle school student," de Blasio said. "We do not ask more of the wealthy to punish success. We do it to create more success stories."

During his campaign as a Democratic nominee for mayor, de Blasio pledged to listen to the needs and concerns of the Chinese community.

"From fighting back against excessive fines on small businesses to taxing the wealthy to fund full-day pre-K and after-school programs, Bill has what it takes to lead our city in a new, progressive direction," said Margaret Chin, Chinese-American New York City Council Member, at de Blasio's rally with Chinese American community leaders in Oct.

"Whatever steps he takes, [I hope that] he doesn't compromise, because the vision that he sees is good but reality is sometimes different," said David Chen, Executive Director of Chinese American Planning Council, an organization which aims facilitate Chinese Americans in New York City toward the goal of economic self- sufficiency and integration into the American mainstream. "You will have to compromise but [I hope] he doesn't make blind compromises."

"So for being elected, it is very easy to say a lot of things when you run, but after you've won, you have a lot of people who do not agree with you," he said. "So in that sense, for him to keep his promise and do what he needs to do is very important."