Kathryn Garcia is a lifelong New Yorker and a dedicated public servant who has been called upon to solve the City’s greatest challenges. Kathryn is the leader who can lift New York City out of crisis.
A lifelong New Yorker
I love New York City. I was adopted as a baby by a teacher and a labor negotiator. My parents raised five multiracial kids in their Park Slope home. I raised my own two kids there as well and today, I live two blocks from where I grew up.
The 1970s Brooklyn of my childhood wasn’t glamorous, and I can recall my mother’s worries about the mortgage going up — but our neighborhood block was the center of our universe for my four siblings and me. It was stickball and skelly in the street, and we knew everyone on the block. It was a community. It was in this environment and through my parent’s careers as civil servants that they raised us to embrace public service, to always give back to the city that had given so much to us. I want every family to have that same opportunity, that same feeling of community that my family did.
As a white kid growing up with black siblings, the beauty and strength of New York’s diversity was present in my family, but, so were its short-comings. My siblings and I are treated differently based on the color of our skin or even our gender. Being a part of my uniquely New York family instilled in me early in life my values of equality and opportunity. I want to create a New York where all our complex identities are embraced and together they make the city a stronger and more beautiful place. It is this exciting intersection of ethnicities, talents and experiences which makes NY so special.
This is why I’ve dedicated my life to making the city that I love better every day.
A PROVEN LEADER IN CRISIS
For the past 14 years, I’ve gotten up before sunrise to make sure that by the time most New Yorkers wake up, their trash has been collected and they have clean water in their tap. I haven’t done it for the titles or the fanfare, but because I care fiercely and obsessively about improving the everyday lives of New Yorkers.
As the 43rd Sanitation Commissioner, I managed a uniformed agency of over 10,000 and implemented some of the most transformative initiatives in the history of the department, including banning styrofoam and implementing the nation’s largest composting program. We plowed the snow, and kept the city running.
At the peak of the COVID19 pandemic last March, I took charge of our emergency food program and ensured delivery of over 130 million meals to hungry or sick New Yorkers. The program has now delivered over 200 million meals.
When Superstorm Sandy struck, as DEP’s Incident Commander, I brought 42 pumping stations and a water waste treatment plant online in three days.
When the lead crisis threatened children at NYCHA, I was tapped again to serve and implemented new protocols that led to a 21% reduction in childhood lead poisoning.
Spanning two mayoral administrations, I have become the go-to problem solver, someone with foresight and leadership ability to take on projects that seem impossible to others. When New York City has needed me, I’ve always stepped up to the challenge. And that is why I have chosen this time, in our City’s most challenging moment, to run for Mayor.
I envision not the New York of our past, but the New York of tomorrow. A city where every child has the opportunity to pursue their dream. Where everyone can make a good living. A city where families are safe and healthy and people thrive. The most climate forward city on Earth. A city with world-class infrastructure, and subways that run on time. A city government known more for its efficiency than its mistakes. As we plan for the revival of this great city we must plan for a city that will be more equitable, more just, and climate-resilient. I can get it done.