Kathryn Garcia, the commissioner of the Department of Sanitation and the "Food Czar" overseeing meal programs during the pandemic, has resigned from her role, effective September 18th.
Garcia is expected to launch a mayoral campaign. In August, Politico reported that she "wants to offer her extensive resume to voters in a long-shot bid to succeed [Mayor Bill] de Blasio. She believes she could appeal to New Yorkers who value problem-solving over ideology, according to several people familiar with her thinking," but the city's budget, full of cuts across agencies—including $100 million from the Sanitation Department—may leave constituents remembering overflowing litter baskets and lingering piles of trash.
Garcia, appointed to Sanitation Commissioner in 2014, has been one of the most high-profile female officials in the de Blasio administration. The mayor has frequently turned to her to address difficult issues, from appointing her interim head of the New York City Housing Authority to making her "Lead Czar" to handle lead contamination issues in NYCHA buildings.
It is not at all clear that being associated with the de Blasio administration will boost a candidate’s chances. But Ms. Garcia, 50, earned a reputation in City Hall for being the mayor’s go-to problem solver...She has earned a reputation as an effective manager, but she has yet to flesh out policy prescriptions for New York City; she has never run for office, and her fund-raising abilities are untested. Should Ms. Garcia run, she plans to cast herself as a competent executive and a nonideological technocrat, according to a political consultant who has talked with Ms. Garcia about her possible mayor bid.
The 2021 mayoral election has a number of likely Democratic candidates: Maya Wiley, who had been chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, is considering a run, while City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer are expected to run as well. Stringer has an 11 a.m. press conference regarding a "major announcement," according to an email from Stringer for New York.
It is unclear who will take over Garcia's duties; the mayor will hold his daily press conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.