Dozens of supporters turned out Saturday for the grand opening of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign office in Mineola — his first outside of New York City.
Campaign staffers, volunteers, and local elected officials packed the office at 210 Old Country Road and took turns sharing why they’re backing the 77-year-old billionaire who announced his candidacy in November.
“I’ve known Mike Bloomberg for 25 years,” said John Calvelli, the New York State director of the Bloomberg campaign. “My confidence comes from knowing his leadership and what he can do. He has excelled as a businessman, a philanthropist, and a politician, and I think the United States deserves someone of his caliber.”
The campaign is planning to open 15 field offices statewide to build support ahead of New York’s presidential primary on April 28.
Supporters who stopped by had the opportunity to acquire lawn signs, buttons, and t-shirts as well as sign up to volunteer for canvassing, phone calls, and voter outreach for Bloomberg.
According to a poll conducted from January 27 to February 2 by Morning Consult, Democratic support for Bloomberg is at 14 percent, ranking him third among the nine candidates in the party.
Despite moving up in the polls, the presidential hopeful has faced some criticism for some of his policies while he was the city’s mayor, such as the stop-and frisk policy, which primarily targeted communities of color. Bloomberg has since apologized for the policy and has gradually moved up in approval in the polls, garnering support from Long Island elected officials like New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach).
“I’m ready for leadership that actually plans for our future,” said Kaminsky. “So in the next few weeks, we all have to do our best to fight for Mike.”
Some of Bloomberg’s campaign promises include investing in local communities to create more jobs, supporting programs focused on improving the climate, and addressing gun safety with more effective background checks, as well as banning assault weapons.
Personally invested in supporting Bloomberg is Shenee Johnson, a community activist who has volunteered with Moms Demand Action since her 17-year old son was shot and killed just two weeks before his high school graduation in 2010. She spoke of how then-mayor Bloomberg personally spoke with her at the time of her son’s death.
“One day I was invited to an event with Mayor Bloomberg at the time,” said Johnson. “And before [the event] started, I told him my story and I felt like he really heard me. He didn’t run away from something controversial and he stood up to the pressure and the NRA because he knew it was the right thing to do.”