Opinions & Features August 01, 2021 at 09:30 am

Meet Eric Adams, the man who could become the next New York City Mayor

Nii Ntreh August 01, 2021 at 09:30 am

August 01, 2021 at 09:30 am | Opinions & Features

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 08: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, whose running as a Democratic mayoral candidate, appears in Flushing, Queens to open a new campaign office on June 8, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York City. In a new poll, crime has become a central issue for many New Yorkers leading to a rise in support for Adams, a retired police captain. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams has expressed his opposition to the socialist “movement,” which includes defunding the police and closing prisons. He declared his opposition during a fundraiser co-hosted by a Republican member of the City Council.

Adams tells supporters in a video clip of his address that the battle he fought in the Nov. 2 election was with the Democratic Socialists of America, not his political opponents. 

“I’m no longer running against candidates. I’m running against a movement. All across the country, the DSA socialists are mobilizing to stop Eric Adams,” he said.

Attendees at the Monday night gathering in Douglaston, Queens, erupted in shouts and clapping as he made his comments.

The Brooklyn Borough President won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City after appealing to the political middle and pledging to find a balance between combatting crime and addressing racial injustice in police.

Adams, a 60-year-old moderate Democrat, is a vocal opponent of the “defund the cops” campaign. If elected, Adams, the former police captain, will be the city’s second Black mayor.

After three people, including a four-year-old child, were shot and wounded in Times Square in May, Adams stated, “We’re not going to recover as a city if we go back in time and see an increase in violence, particularly gun violence.” 

“If Black lives really matter, it can’t only be against police abuse. It has to be against the violence that’s ripping apart our communities,” he told supporters the night of the primary.

Adams, who is widely expected to become New York City’s next mayor, is already courting many of the city’s most powerful business executives in private.  According to sources familiar with the situation, Adams began meeting with executives shortly after securing the Democratic nominee following a bruising race.

Adams regularly discusses his dual identity as a 22-year police veteran and a Black man who was a victim of police violence as a youngster. At the age of 15, he says he was beaten by cops. Adams joined the police force in 1984 and progressed through the ranks to captain before running for the state Senate in 2006.

He co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care while in the police department, an organization that advocated for criminal justice reform and opposed racial profiling. 

Adams made an impression after gaining a state Senate seat from Brooklyn in 2006 by giving an emotional speech in 2009 in support of same-sex marriage rights, two years before New York state legislators enacted a marriage equality bill.

Adams also had to deal with a number of scandals, including a 2010 report from the state inspector general criticizing his handling of the bidding process to bring casino gambling to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Adams had taken campaign money from a politically linked gambling franchise bidder.

Adams was elected borough president of Brooklyn in 2013.

Adams has lived in New York his entire life. He graduated from New York City Technical College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a master’s degree in public administration from Marist College. He also attended public schools in New York City, including Bayside High School in Queens.

Adams is a vegan who claims that eating a plant-based diet helped him reverse his diabetes. Jordan Coleman, his 25-year-old son from a previous relationship, is his only child. Tracey Collins, an educator who works in the city’s public school system as an administrator, is his current partner.

Adams is a dynamic speaker who has made some cringe-worthy comments, such as his 1993 remark that Herman Badillo, a Puerto Rican-born politician, should have married a Latina rather than a white, Jewish lady.

Last year, Adams grumbled about gentrifiers migrating to the city from other cities during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. 

“Go back to Iowa. You go back to Ohio,” Adams said. “New York City belongs to the people that were here and made New York City what it is.”

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