Mayoral candidate and model New Yorker Ray McGuire has big plans to restore the city.
Ray McGuire with his wife, Crystal McCrary McGuire
What inspired you to run for office? I love New York City. It’s where I met my wife and we’re raising our kids. So when I see the city I love in such trouble, I decided that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines. I saw how much my mom struggled to raise my brothers and me on a social worker’s salary, so I know what it’s like for New Yorkers not able to make the rent. I know that when I change from my business suit to a sweatsuit, I could be the next George Floyd or Eric Garner—so we’ve got to tackle the divide of distrust between police and the communities they’re sworn to serve.
What do you love most about NYC? I love the fact that when people start to count New York out, we get right back up and fight even harder. And with the right leadership, we’re poised to prove the naysayers wrong. It’s in our DNA as New Yorkers. Nothing defeats us.
What lessons are you taking away from this challenging past year? It’s reminded me how important family is. It’s showed me how resilient the people of this city are. And it’s been a stark reminder of how low-income communities, particularly communities of color, are disproportionately vulnerable on so many levels. We have to come together as a city and do everything in our power to tackle the inequities that have reached a breaking point.
What do you feel the city needs most now? Trusted leadership. Our city needs a mayor who can lead the most inclusive economic comeback for this city, and that starts with jobs and growth. I’ve got a plan to generate 500,000 jobs—from big projects to support for small businesses. There are so many things we need to be doing, but first and foremost, we’ve got to bring the jobs back. That’s the first thing I’m thinking about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I fall asleep.
There is much discussion on our city’s loss of tax revenue. What do you propose as potential solutions? Growth. I’m hopeful that with President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer and my friend Vice President Harris at the helm, New York is going to see a great deal more federal aid. But we’re also going to have to go agency by agency and find savings to make up any shortfall, and people who’ve done well—myself included—are going to have to be prepared to contribute more. What I know is that we can neither cut nor tax our way out of this; we must grow our way out of this.
How would you describe your leadership style? I believe in putting petty politics aside. We need to build the best teams and bring unlikely allies to the table in the pursuit of a greater good. If we’re going to solve these massive challenges our city faces, we have got to come together and row in the same direction. There’s no percentage in the old-style political games; that’s a losing proposition. We need fresh thinking and a laser focus on leading the greatest comeback New York has ever seen. And that’s what I intend to do as mayor.
Photography by: PHOTO BY CEDRIC WOOTEN PHOTOGRAPHY/COURTESY OF RAY FOR MAYOR