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As I travel throughout this great city, I see the impact of our urban young professionals everywhere I look.  This is the next generation of leaders in our city.  Many of them are entrepreneurs with a dream – something Russell and I can appreciate.  We know how tough it is to open a small business, whether it’s a retail store or a restaurant or any of the other small businesses that form the backbone of our economy.  And I’m determined to do everything I can to help our entrepreneurs open and expand their businesses.

One of my favorite moments of the campaign came when more 800 urban young professionals filled the nightclub, Touch, to show their support.  New Yorkers from across the city – and across the political spectrum – came together to join our campaign.  People like Kwame Jackson, Mike Muse, Jodi Brockington and so many others came to hear Mayors Cory Booker, Adrian Fenty and others talk about our work in making New York a safer, healthier, green cleaner city with better schools, more jobs, and an honest, effective city government.  They joined our campaign because we’re united in a common mission: creating a first-rate education system for all students, so that all students can pursue their dreams and build successful careers.

New York City is lucky to have an abundance of talented urban young professionals, and I believe that this “hip-hop generation” has enormous power to help make long-overdue changes a reality in our City.  I’ve been proud to work closely with many young leaders who know that with success comes responsibility – the responsibility of giving back and helping others.  And together, we can make sure that all young New Yorkers get the education – and support – that they need and deserve.

One of the biggest reasons I ran for Mayor in 2001 was to win control of the broken public school system – and begin fixing it.  And that’s exactly what we’ve done.  Since 2002, when we abolished the dysfunctional old Board of Education and replaced it with a system of mayoral accountability, we’ve made enormous progress: math and reading scores are up dramatically.  Graduation rates are also at all time highs – after being basically flat for more than a decade.  And we’ve cut school violence by 34 percent.  Of course, we still have a lot of work to do, but there’s no question we’re on the right track – and I believe the next four years will be our best yet.

I’m also committed to expanding opportunity at our community colleges.  Too often, students drop out because they can’t afford the cost of books – or because they can’t afford the cost of day care for their children.  If I’m re-elected, we’re going to cut the cost of books, and we’re going to provide more free day care to more young parents.  No mother or father should have to choose between taking care of their child and getting an education!

We’ll also work to open a new community college that will prepare the next generation for jobs in emerging fields, like our growing green economy.  My goal is for 120,000 New Yorkers to graduate from our community colleges by the year 2020. 

New York City’s future belongs to you, the next generation of leaders who are already making a difference in our City’s life.  We share the same goals; we share a determination to fix problems that politicians tolerated for far too long; and we share a sense of independence.  Working together, we can make the greatest city in the world even greater.

On November 3rd, New Yorkers will go to the polls and cast a ballot that will shape the City’s next four years.  My platform is simple: Progress, not politics.  W

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