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Mayoral hopeful Kathryn Garcia fired back at rival Andrew Yang on Wednesday morning after he blamed her for the Big Apple’s filthy streets, ripping him as clueless about city government.
“Andrew is a lovely guy, but this is a hard job, and requires you to really understand how government works, how labor unions work, how the budget works,” Garcia said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” ahead of the first in-person debate of the race tonight. “You don’t want anyone looking for the light switch.”
Garcia — whom Yang recently blamed for often-trashy city streets — defended her record as sanitation commissioner under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I had left the department when we took a $100 million budget cut, and that had an immediate impact on the cleanliness of this city. I saw that, I tried to raise the red flag, it didn’t happen, and I left,” she said on MSNBC.
“But I will tell you, I don’t know what numbers he’s looking at, but the city was cleaner under my tenure than it had ever been, so I welcome a conversation about track records.”
Garcia’s comments come as Yang — who during the campaign has spoken kindly of her and said he’ll rank her second on his ballot — has changed his tune as she’s risen in the polls.
One recent poll, which was an outlier in the limited available polling of the primary, placed Garcia first ahead of Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who in most measures are neck and neck at the top of the race.
“Right now, New Yorkers complain to me just about every day about the piles of trash that we’re seeing around us that get higher and higher,” Yang said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” on May 26.
“We need someone very different than Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and Kathryn — despite her service to the city — is part of an administration that a lot of New Yorkers know has not worked.”
As the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary nears, Yang is not the only candidate to attack the center-left de Blasio administration alumna.
“This city does not need a manager, Rev, it needs a visionary,” Adams told the Rev. Al Sharpton of Garcia at a recent event.
Garcia is facing heightened scrutiny after her recently soaring poll numbers following Daily News and New York Times editorial endorsements. During Garcia’s six years helming the city Sanitation Department, a federal discrimination complaint alleges women and minorities were placed in lower-paid jobs with fewer benefits, The Post reported Wednesday.
The major mayoral candidates will face off in person Wednesday evening for the second Democratic primary debate at 7 p.m. on ABC.
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