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Chirlane McCray: The Perfect First Lady for New York City

How Chirlane McCray Became New York City’s Ideal First Lady

Chirlane McCray's unique background makes her an ideal fit for her new job as the First Lady of New York City.

McCray, meanwhile, seems to naturally fit perfectly into both the identity and the role expected of the first lady of New York City’s freshly progressive administration. “Unlike Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton, she isn’t a careerist,” Miller notes. “Her résumé doesn’t sparkle.” So it doesn’t seem strange for McCray to be so satisfied in her new role as de Blasio’s No. 2, and it also doesn’t seem particularly threatening to the future of the city that she has some influence over her husband’s administration. (De Blasio has described McCray as his “partner” in all things; during his campaign, he put McCray’s name on the top of his org chart, side-by-side with his.) “Unlike other First Ladies, McCray isn’t known as a meddler,” Miller writes. “For all their closeness and commitment to one another, de Blasio is a much more traditional politician—deal-making, arm-twisting, glad-handing.” And importantly, McCray’s most significant contributions to the administration are simpatico with her identity: Miller reports that McCray pushed de Blasio to hire diverse staffers (he’s complied), and that she’s been tasked with revitalizing the city’s Commission on Women. That fits with McCray’s own story as a woman who, according to Miller, “came of age at a time and in a place when speaking out about who you are, making declarations of identity despite convention and in defiance of taboos, was the bravest thing a person—in particular, a Black woman—could do.”

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