During his nearly three decades of public service, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer has achieved tangible results for New Yorkers by forging diverse coalitions and addressing the City’s most enduring urban challenges. He has dedicated himself to making Manhattan more affordable and livable, tackling issues such as housing, school overcrowding, public safety, balanced development, sustainability and equal opportunities for underserved communities.
Prior to being elected Borough President in 2006, Stringer, a native New Yorker, served for 13 years in the New York State Assembly. Representing Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he led the successful fight to end “empty-seat voting” in the State Assembly, and voted against every attempt to weaken rent regulations. In endorsing him for Borough President, the New York Times praised his “sterling reputation as a catalyst for reform.”
Stringer’s dedication to public service began early: While still in high school, he was the youngest person ever to serve on a community board, a district-based citizen advisory council appointed by the Borough President. Since taking office, Stringer has reinvigorated Manhattan’s 12 community boards and promoted the role of participatory democracy in City government. He introduced a merit-based selection process, enhanced the boards’ resources and capacity and diversified their membership.
The fruits of his inclusive approach are now visible throughout the borough: Stringer worked with the community and local officials to achieve a landmark deal with Columbia University. He spearheaded the rezoning of 35 acres in West Harlem—a blueprint which will generate jobs, increase affordable housing and help the neighborhood maintain its historic character while also benefiting economically from Columbia University’s expansion.
A product of the City’s public schools, Stringer has authored three hard-hitting reports on classroom overcrowding. Since their release, he has won commitments for new public schools in the badly-overcrowded Flatiron district, East Midtown, and the Upper East Side.
Alarmed by the rise of asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity in Manhattan’s economically disadvantaged communities, Stringer launched his trailblazing “Go Green” programs. These grassroots efforts have boosted environmental health and promoted healthy food initiatives in neglected, underserved neighborhoods.
“Go Green” reached a milestone in 2010 by opening a modern, state-of-the-art asthma center in East Harlem, which has the nation’s highest rate of the disease among children. Stringer has also launched innovative programs like Youth Bucks, which provides $2 coupons for youth to spend at local farmers markets. The Borough President is a leader in shaping New York’s food policies. He was the first to call for a local Department of Food and Agriculture, and his trailblazing report, “Food NYC: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System,” offered a far-reaching agenda for the City’s food economy.
Building on his commitment to public health, Stringer helped organize a citywide coalition calling for a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. He spoke out against risks to the city’s upstate watershed at a time when few New Yorkers knew about this controversial method of natural gas extraction.
The Borough President has made transportation and infrastructure a cornerstone of his office’s work: He hosted the “Manhattan on the Move” conference which gathered more than 400 policymakers, advocates, business and community leaders to discuss transportation challenges facing New York. He also spearheaded requests to the Office of the MTA Inspector General to probe cost and timeline overruns on the Second Avenue Subway. A subsequent MTA report found over a quarter of a billion dollars in unnecessary cost overruns.
A leader on women’s issues, Stringer authored a landmark 1994 bill while in the Assembly mandating that police officers, rather than victims, serve orders of protection for battered women. He is now partnering with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and the Mayor’s Office to establish the Manhattan Family Justice Center, which will offer comprehensive legal and support services for victims of domestic violence under one roof.
The Borough President is a champion of immigrant rights including comprehensive immigration reform and humane immigration enforcement; his office compiled the first-ever citywide Immigrant Rights and Services Manual in multiple languages. In a similar vein, his groundbreaking Bank On Manhattan program has brought 7,000 low-income residents without bank accounts into the banking fold—setting them on the road to financial security.
The Borough President has authored reports that stoked debate and led to reforms on issues like toxic boilers in rent-regulated housing units, the City’s failure to enforce building codes and its poor supervision of elevators in Housing Authority buildings. He probed the Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP), which has handed out millions of dollars in dubious tax breaks to fast food vendors and gas stations. His recent study of the way discretionary funds are distributed among City Council districts exposed deep inequities in the system and spurred widespread calls for reform. Furthermore, he has been a leader in promoting environmental, responsible and sustainable investments on the Board of the New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS), the City’s largest pension fund.
Scott Stringer was born and raised in Washington Heights and graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He resides on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his wife, Elyse Buxbaum. They were married in Connecticut, in an act of solidarity with LGBT friends who could not at the time marry in New York State. As one of the five co-sponsors of the original marriage equality bill in the Assembly, he calls the historic passage of the bill in 2011 one of his “proudest moments as an elected official and as a New Yorker.” The couple is expecting their first child this year.