Working The Jewish Vote For Bloomberg ‘09


At 24, Mark Botnick is in charge of outreach to the Jewish community for Mike Bloomberg’s third mayoral campaign. The Yonkers native, an alumnus of Westchester Day School and Westchester Hebrew High School, worked on Bloomberg’s last campaign while still at Queens College and afterward went to work at the city’s Community Assistance Unit until this year. A Democrat, he lives on the Upper West Side.

Q: How does it look for the re-election? Do you think the mayor will pull it off?

A:You can’t take anything for granted. He’s going to make sure to touch each and every voter and come up with innovative ideas to try new things.

What does he consider his proudest accomplishment?

Making the city a better place. Crime is down, education is much better; the goal is to leave the city a better place than it was, especially for children, and he will continue to do so, hopefully for the next four years.

What are some of the issues he’s talking about to the Jewish community?

Obviously, safety is paramount. Under his leadership we have enhanced the NYPD’s counterterrorism division and you see it worked in Riverdale. He’s gone to Israel many times to show his support and said if rockets were being launched at New York City he’d react the same way.

With all those commercials almost 24/7 is there a risk of Bloomberg fatigue?

The mayor was at a dinner a couple of weeks ago where someone said he should run for a third term. So you can never do enough, you can’t take anything for granted, you leave no stone unturned: mail, television, shaking hands on the street. It’s important for the Jewish community to go out and vote. It shows that they are important in what happens in the city and that their voices are heard.

What’s your sense of how the Jewish community feels about term limits and the mayor having worked to overturn them?

The mayor didn’t change term limits; the City Council passed the legislation. Our community, like many New Yorkers, feels that changing term limits is about choice, and with the change in the law there is an added choice.

How did you get involved in politics?

My parents met in government many years ago in the congressional office of Ed Koch. My father was special adviser, and my mother worked as a legislative aide. I majored in political science in college, and in 2005 when I started interning for the mayor I got the bug and went back to City Hall, where there was a real opportunity for flexibility to try and implement ideas and new innovative things.

As a Democrat working for a Republican [Bloomberg is now an independent], did you ever consider switching parties?

A lot of my views coincide with [those] of the mayor, a more independent look at things based on issues and not party affiliation. Partisanship bothers me.