Fernando Mateo runs for New York City mayor as an ‘urban Republican’
Fernando Mateo is a New York City native and successful businessman who says his experience makes him a good fit for the next mayor.
Mateo says his parents immigrated to the United States in 1950 and he grew up in New York City. He says he dropped out of school at age 14 to start his own business, which eventually grew into a multimillion-dollar contracting business.
"By the time 1989 came around, I was a pretty wealthy guy, and I decided to go to Rikers Island and teach, train and find employment for first-time nonviolent offenders," Mateo says.
In 1998, he became the president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and served as the Hispanic Director for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reelection campaign.
"I was asked to help the taxi industry organize because they were being killed and murdered...and I did the same for the bodega owners in 2002," he says. "In my administration, public safety would be No. 1. We need to get our cops back on our streets, we need to support our law enforcement officers, we need to make sure that every New Yorker feels safe. Rikers Island I would not shut down, I would make sure we reform it."
Mateo says another of his priorities is affordable housing for residents in need.
"I want people that work with the homeless to know that I will work very hard to build them good affordable housing in industrial parks," he says. "I will work with the landlords to bring our rents down so that we stop the gentrification of our city. So as an urban Republican, I have done most of my work for the Democratic community."
May 28 is the last day to register to vote in person or have mail-in applications postmarked by. Anyone that needs to change their address needs to do so by June 2. Primary Election Day is June 22.
Extended interviews with Fernando Mateo and the rest of the candidates can be found here.