Papal people-mover a public advocate candidate

Badly behaving men aren’t the only candidates for office in New York City, where the position of public advocate is being contested by, among others, some accomplished women, including self-described “university professor, small business owner, and athlete” Cathy Guerriero. In recent days she’s been racking up endorsements (“dozens and dozens of faith-based leaders”) and raising her profile, as with her appearance on a local TV station Monday, where she cited her experience as director of strategic planning for the Archdiocese of New York and director of the 2008 papal visit—“It was my job to get hundreds of thousands of Catholics and a pope in and out of the city in three days”—as qualifications for the position.

You probably haven’t heard of Guerriero if you’re not in New York, and even if you are you might not have, and even if you are, you may not know what the public advocate does. The holder is sometimes dubbed “mayor in waiting” since the post is first in the line of succession, and indeed many compare it, though unfavorably, to the vice presidency. No public advocate has been elected mayor since the position was created in 1993, but the job is nonetheless seen as a stepping-stone. Not just by Guerriero (who in the latest polling is statistically tied for the lead), but by the half-dozen or so people who run for it every election year. Among those: Current public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, who hopes to change history and whose chances may have improved with the implosion of a certain competitor’s candidacy and with today’s endorsement by financier and hedge-fund manager George Soros. 

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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