Kathryn Garcia Doesn’t Want to Be Anyone’s No. 2

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“I’ve done it before,” Lily protested.

Ms. Garcia is running as a moderate in the Democratic primary, much like Mr. Yang and Mr. Adams, who lead most polls. She rejects the defund the police movement, but would seek to require new officers to live in the five boroughs to better integrate the police force with the communities they serve, and would raise the recruitment age from 21 to 25.

She has also proposed creating 50,000 units of what she calls “deeply affordable” housing, while legalizing more basement and single-room occupancy apartments. She supports allowing more charter schools to open and creating more dedicated bus lanes.

But above all, she is running on her reputation for competence, one she honed while working for Mr. de Blasio.

After the mayor in 2019 signed on to a controversial deal ceding some authority over the New York City Housing Authority to the federal government, the interim chair, Stanley Brezenoff, quit. Mr. de Blasio asked Ms. Garcia to step in until a new chair could be found.


“They needed somebody credible, somebody with a demonstrable track record, someone who wouldn’t be immediately overwhelmed by the problems and the challenges of the task at hand,” Mr. Brezenoff said. “So she went from a palace where she reigned supreme and took this on. That’s my definition virtually of being a good soldier in the interests of the public and the city.”

Ms. Garcia spent about four months leading the housing authority. Victor Bach, the senior housing policy analyst for the Community Service Society of New York, said he was “impressed with her skills as an administrator, particularly as a pinch-hitter NYCHA chair, transiting from sanitation to a strange new NYCHA universe.”

But Daniel Barber, the head of the citywide council of tenant representatives, faulted her for not doing enough to effect change.

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