First NYC Mayoral Debate Lacked Discussion of Tech and Job Growth

On Tuesday, we saw for the first time the three NYC mayoral candidates square off in what we had hoped would be a respectful and informed debate on the most important issues facing our city. Instead, we got the opposite: one candidate repeatedly had his mic cut off for yelling out of turn and at least one audience member was ejected for heckling before the moderator abruptly shut things down.

While the chaotic exchanges last night led to some entertaining back-and-forth on Twitter, one thing all voters missed out on was any substantive discussion on job creation, the economy, and the role technology will play in both.

Maintaining a dialogue on how we can continue to grow a tech sector that touches all other industries is critical to New York City’s success, and voters deserve to hear candidates’ ideas for making NYC a place for businesses to thrive.

For example, the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island will be a valuable incubator for innovative new companies. We need to ensure that they plant roots here and employ New Yorkers, and the best way to do that is for city leaders to show they are serious about supporting the tech industry.

And with the city making a strong bid for Amazon’s new HQ2, the candidates should be highlighting the countless things about NYC that make it a great place to do business, including our diverse and talented workforce and our place as a global center for a wide range of industries.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, and Mr. Bo Dietl did cover a number of issues on Tuesday that deserve serious attention, including ways to improve our transit system and how each of them would respond to federal policies that hurt New Yorkers. This conversation is beneficial for our city, but it shouldn’t prevent meaningful discussion on boosting our economy.

While it is crucial to hear what candidates have to say about these issues, it’s just as important that we also make our voices heard in the voting booth. This Friday, October 13, is the deadline for registering to vote in this year’s Mayoral election and the 2018 primaries in New York if you haven’t specified a political party in the past or would like to change party affiliation. Make sure your registration status is up to date before Friday (and tell your friends, family, and co-workers who may be unaware of the deadline) so that you can be sure you have a say in this year and next year’s elections.