For second year, Mayor Adams outlines a ‘working people’s agenda’


Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday laid out a vision for New York City’s recovery that builds on his first year, with a broad laundry list of policies that seemed designed to please a wide swath of New Yorkers: growing jobs through a new apprenticeship program, building more housing in Midtown, assisting minority and women-owned businesses, expanding composting, and building on his core issue of public safety.

Whether he can deliver, and more importantly, fund all those initiatives is uncertain. Adams is coming into a year when the city’s economic recovery appears to be slowing and as municipal unions are calling for what will likely be expensive raises. His recent $103 billion budget did not include many ambitious investments and he is seeking to further shrink the size of the city’s workforce amid a staffing crisis.

Adams delivered his speech from inside the Queens Theatre, a historic venue that dates back to the 1964 World’s Fair, describing his plan as a “working people’s agenda” built on jobs, public safety, housing and care.

The mayor, who grew up the son of a single mother in Queens, began his speech as an ode to working class New Yorkers.

“Your early mornings, late nights, and double shifts keep us moving, keep us healthy, keep us safe — especially over the last few years,” Adams said, “You have done everything for us, and this city must do more for you,” he said.

As the city’s second Black mayor, Adams has taken pains to highlight his efforts on equity and helping the city’s poorest residents. On Thursday, he said job development would be a top priority in the coming year, with a focus on addressing the high rate of Black unemployment.

Among the proposals, Adams plans to launch an expanded apprenticeship program connecting 30,000 New Yorkers to job-training opportunities by 2030, along with a new training program to address a chronic shortage of nurses, and investments in new technology job centers.

Adams also said his administration was committed to supporting the growth of the legal cannabis industry across the city, while cracking down on bad actors who would seek to operate illegally.

On the issue of public safety, Adams pledged to tackle recidivism, or repeat offenders, by committing additional funding to the city’s court system.

Adams has argued that crime, which has risen overall, is moving in the right direction. Homicides and shootings have dropped, but other major crimes like robbery, assault, and burglary have shot up.

He has also once again indicated that seeking changes in the criminal justice system and bail laws would be another priority for him in Albany. During his speech, he said he would ask Gov. Kathy Hochul — who was among the elected officials in attendance — to provide more resources to the city’s five district attorneys’ offices as well as public defenders.

The governor’s presence at the event was a sharp departure from prior years when Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio engaged in a sometimes bitter rivalry. It was also an illustration of a political alliance that both are counting on for the success of their term.

“I’m grateful to have you here today and to have you fighting for us in Albany,” Adams said to the governor during his speech.

In a decision that is likely to buoy environmentalists, the mayor also said he would expand composting citywide over the next 20 months. To the confusion of some, the city’s Department of Sanitation recently paused a pilot initiative to bring composting throughout Queens.

Outside of the venue, a large group of protesters called on Adams to move ahead with the closure of the troubled Rikers Island jail complex. Conditions at the city’s detention facilities have continued to deteriorate under the Adams administration, with 19 people dying while in city custody last year, the highest number in 25 years.

The protesters included people who were formerly incarcerated and their families who want the Adams administration to make budget commitments to shutting the facility down, a plan that began under the previous administration.

Like many State of the City addresses, the event had plenty of local flair. In this case, students from Susan E. Wagner High School performed a range of culturally diverse dances.

A six-minute video showed to the audience profiled individual New Yorkers who said they had benefited from the mayor’s first year policies.

The video was initially released earlier in the morning through the launch of a new newsletter intended to give the mayor a platform to promote his initiatives directly to the public.

Adams has criticized his press coverage, saying that his policy announcements have been “distorted” and underappreciated.

This story will be updated throughout the day.


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