Elected Officials To Their Campaign Promises
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
I ran for Mayor of New York City, I said that if there was one
principle I would try to bring to government, it would be accountability.
The idea that you can promise something over and over again, then
not do it and get away with it is simply unfathomable. After spending
more than a year in office, I can say with some authority that
a much higher standard of accountability is desperately needed
in government. Elected officials should be held to their campaign
promises, and I want the people of New York City to start with
During my campaign, I released a series of proposals on major
issues, ranging from improving education to overhauling customer
service to building our economy to strengthening law enforcement.
In every campaign, the candidates pledge to implement a host of
ideas and policies. Thatís, more or less, how people decide who
to vote for. Just because a campaign ends doesnít mean that the
themes and principles that guided it should end with it.
In my case, the people of New York City have a right to know what
I said I would do in the campaign, and they have a right to know
what I have done about those proposals as Mayor. Thatís what accountability
is all about. That theory should apply to every elected official,
in every office.
Thatís why I just released a database that lists every proposal
made during my campaign and details where each proposal stands:
good and bad, big and small, whether we have achieved it thus
far or not. The goal of a public official shouldnít be to escape
scrutiny and review. We should embrace it, because the more the
people hold us accountable for results, the better weíll do. That
has been my experience in over thirty-five years in the private
sector. Now Iím doing my best to make it the standard in the public
In addition to listing each proposal and its status, the database
places all 380 campaign proposals in one of five categories: done,
launched, planned, not done, and being reconsidered. Weíve been
fortunate to have completed, implemented or have definitive plans
for almost 80% of the proposals, but itís equally important that
the public see what we havenít taken on yet, because public scrutiny
and pressure will only make fulfilling the proposals that much
more likely (if you donít believe me, ask my Commissioners).
Some elected officials may worry about having proposed ideas or
initiatives that turn out not to be the best way to proceed (in
other words, bad ideas). They shouldnít. Not every proposal or
idea is going to work out. The point isnít to appear infallible.
Itís to be as creative and innovative as possible. If some ideas
ultimately arenít the best way to proceed, that only lets you
know that, all in all, youíre on the right track. I donít think
the voters would punish their elected officials for admitting
they had some bad ideas. If anything, I think they would appreciate
Will other elected officials follow suit and release the status
of their campaign promises? I hope they do. In fact, weíd be happy
to let them know exactly how we went about doing this. But either
way, Iím proud weíre releasing the status of my campaign promises.
Weíll continue to do so throughout my administration. To receive
a copy of the report, email us at email@example.com
or call us at (212) 788-7766 or visit our website at nyc.gov/campaignpromises.
Holding elected officials accountable for their campaign promises
can only make our campaigns more realistic and our government
more effective. Perhaps even more important, it would help restore
faith in a system that sorely needs it.#
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