Childhood & Early Life
Bill De Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm Jr., on May 8, 1961. He is the third son of Maria Angela (nee, de Blasio) and Warren Wilhelm. He has two elder brothers, Steven and Donald.
His mother was of Italian ancestry, while his father was from Europe and of mixed descent.
His mother, Maria, worked with the 'United States Office of War Information' during World War II. Her book 'The Other Italy: The Italian Resistance in World War II' was published in 1988.
His father, Warren, worked as an editor of 'Time’ magazine. Warren then enlisted in the 'U.S. Army' during World War II and served in the Pacific War. He lost his left foot in the war.
Bill de Blasio was born at the ‘Doctors Hospital,’ Manhattan, New York City, U.S. In 1966, his family shifted to Cambridge, Massachusetts. He started attending kindergarten there.
His parents broke up in his early childhood, and he was brought up by his maternal family.
When he was 18 years old, his father, who was suffering from lung cancer, committed suicide.
He graduated from the 'Cambridge Rindge and Latin School,' Cambridge, in 1979. At school, he served in the student government and was called “Senator Provolone” by his peers.
Bill De Blasio earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in metropolitan studies from the 'New York University,' New York City, and his Master of International Affairs from the 'School of International and Public Affairs’ (SIPA) at 'Columbia University,' Manhattan, New York City.
In 1981, he received the 'Harry S. Truman Scholarship.'
In 1983, he adopted the name “Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm.”
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Bill de Blasio worked for the 'Urban Fellows Program' of the 'New York City Department of Juvenile Justice' in 1984.
After he graduated from the ‘SIPA,’ he started working as a political organizer with the 'Quixote Center' in Maryland, U.S.A., in 1987.
In 1988, during the Nicaraguan Revolution, he traveled to Nicaragua for 10 days to carry out humanitarian services.
During and after his stay in Nicaragua, he became a strong supporter of the 'Sandinista National Liberation Front,' the ruling socialist government, which was not supported by President Ronald Reagan's administration.
After returning from Nicaragua, he joined a not-for-profit organization that worked toward improving the healthcare system in Central America.
In 1989, Bill De Blasio volunteered as a coordinator for David Dinkins's New York mayoral campaign.
After the campaign, Bill de Blasio became an aide at the 'New York City Hall.'
In 1994, he was hired as the campaign manager by U.S. representative Charles Rangel. The campaign ended with Charles’s successful re-election.
He was appointed as the regional director of the 'United States Department of Housing and Urban Development' for New York and New Jersey in 1997.
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He was elected to be a member of the school board for Brooklyn School District 15 in 1999.
In 2000, Hillary Clinton appointed him as the campaign manager for her successful 'United States Senate Elections.'
As a ‘Democrat,’ he represented the ‘New York City Council's 39th district after winning the elections in 2001. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2005 and served in this position until 2009.
During his tenure, he was instrumental in passing legislations to improve the housing opportunities for the marginalized and to bring in laws to safeguard those facing discrimination due to their sexuality, gender, and ethnicity. He was also a member of the committees of education, environmental protection, finance, technology, and general welfare.
De Blasio won the New York City public advocate's elections on November 3, 2009, and took charge on January 1, 2010. He remained in this post until 2013. During this period, he worked toward introducing housing and education reforms.
He won the 2013 New York mayoral elections and was instated on January 2014. He was re-elected in 2017.
During his tenure, he worked toward the betterment of public transport in New York, improving the education facilities of the underprivileged, securing environmental protection, and providing affordable housing.
In December 2018, he declared his support for legalizing marijuana in New York City.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was dragged into a controversy because of his “tweets”.
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He blamed the George Floyd protestors for blocking two police cruisers that knocked a barricade onto them and held the “anarchist” protestors responsible for instigating violence.
In late 2019, he withdrew from running for the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.
Family & Personal Life
When Bill de Blasio was working in Mayor Dinkins's administration, he met activist and poet Chirlane McCray. They married in 1994.
Despite the U.S. banning travel to Cuba, the couple had their honeymoon in Cuba.
He changed his name to “Bill de Blasio” in 2001 to honor his mother's family.
He stayed in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York City, before becoming the mayor of New York City.
De Blasio and Chirlane have two children, Dante and Chiara.
Criticisms & Controversies
In 2013, while Bill de Blasio was actively campaigning, he took part in the protests against the closing of the 'Long Island College Hospital.' He was arrested and released within a few hours.
The funding for his mayoral election campaign came under the scanner of various authorities. It was investigated until 2017, but no charges were filed.
As soon as he became the mayor of New York City, his handling of the snowstorms was criticized by New Yorkers, especially by the residents of Upper East Side, teachers’ unions, and the media.
His relationship with the 'New York Police Department' (NYPD) has not been cordial since the time he assumed the mayor's office. His interactions with the 'NYPD' have created friction on several occasions.
The Jewish non-governmental organization known as the 'Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith' criticized him for singling out their community with “tweets” directed at them.
His plans for affordable housing and chartered schools have raked in controversies.