Leaning on his unmatched credentials in the Obama Administration and as a NYC housing advocate and public servant, Donovan outlines a progressive and bold vision to provide every New Yorker access to a great public school, healthy food options, rapid transportation, and a public park within 15 minutes of their home.
He vowed to reform policing and the broken criminal justice system, while attacking structural racism and inequality throughout the city.
BRONX, NY – Shaun Donovan, former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary and White House Budget Director for President Obama officially announced today his candidacy for Mayor of New York City at Via Verde, a historic affordable housing project in the Bronx that he helped build with members of the community.
His campaign launch featured a video highlighting his service in times of crisis, which can be seen here.
“I am honored today to say that I am running for Mayor of New York City to repair the civic fabric of the city, pull New Yorkers together to rebuild from the damage brought by COVID-19, and reimagine an innovative city that truly works for everyone,” said Shaun Donovan, Candidate for Mayor of New York City. “I am a public servant committed to building a diverse coalition of small business owners, local residents, faith leaders and community advocates to bring innovative ideas that will revitalize and create a more equitable New York City.”
During his launch, Donovan discussed his unique combination of Obama Administration experience and work as a New York City housing advocate, organizer and public servant as he addressed the current COVID crisis, ongoing, systemic issues in public education, transportation, homelessness, the housing crisis, and the budget deficit. He vowed to appoint a Chief Equity Officer to help reform policing and the broken criminal justice system. In addition, Donovan will fight to create “15 minute neighborhoods” that will provide every New Yorker access to a great public school, fresh food, rapid transportation, and a public park.
The campaign will be releasing bold, detailed plans – prepared in consultation with hundreds of policy experts and community leaders – to repair, rebuild, and reimagine New York City in the coming days and weeks.
The announcement featured an invocation from Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood, a senior pastor at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Donovan and Rev. Youngblood have worked together for nearly three decades to help create affordable homes for working class families.
“Shaun helped the Brownsville, East New York and South Bronx communities build Nehemiah, one of the most successful housing efforts in the nation that created more than 5,000 affordable homes,” said Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church Senior Pastor. “His creativity made him a national pioneer in building and preserving wealth for people of color, which is why I am confident that he will lead this great city into a recovery that will make us stronger than ever.”
As HUD Secretary, Donovan helped families across the country rent or buy affordable homes, revitalized distressed communities, fought discrimination and dramatically reduced homelessness. President Obama asked him to lead the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, leaving a stronger, more resilient region than before the storm hit. At the White House as Budget Director, Donovan increased investment in key national security priorities that grew the economy, protected our country and increased opportunity. He also oversaw regulations that reduced inequality, expanded health care, improved education and fought climate change.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Donovan served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. At HPD, he created the largest affordable housing plan in the nation and one of the earliest and most successful responses to the foreclosure crisis, The Center for New York City Neighborhoods. He also served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing at HUD and as acting Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner.
Donovan was joined by his wife Liza Gilbert, a landscape architect and his sons Lucas and Milo. In addition, local and national supporters made special appearances at the virtual event including former Mayors Mitch Landrieu, Manny Diaz, Ashley Swearengin, Anthony Foxx, Michael Nutter and Senator-Elect John Hickenlooper.
“At a time when no one wanted to come to the Bronx, Shaun Donovan showed up and fought for sustainable and safe affordable housing options for Bronx families,” said Anna Vincenty, Bronx Housing Advocate. “Shaun is committed to revitalizing neighborhoods by empowering its local residents and leaders to help build thriving communities.”
Donovan’s commitment to public service and bringing quality, resilient housing to cities across the nation was inspired by his upbringing in the 1970’s and 1980’s during economic hardship and violence in New York City. Deeply affected by the crisis he saw around him growing up, he volunteered in a homeless shelter during college and interned for the National Coalition for the Homeless when he graduated. After studying architecture and housing in graduate school, he returned to work for the nonprofit Community Preservation Corporation in the Bronx and across New York City.
The virtual event was live streamed from Via Verde, a residential development that won the first international juried design competition for affordable housing in New York City.