Former New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg made a campaign stop in Houston on Thursday, touting his support from several mayors as part of his “Mike for Black America” launch.
The visit comes as the Texas Tribune released fresh polling on Friday showing Bloomberg on the rise in Texas following a late entry in the race.
The kickoff to the campaign’s Black outreach initiative coincides with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s endorsement of Bloomberg made earlier that day.
“I grew up in the hood. I still live in the hood. And I want to be able to stand with somebody who will be sensitive to their needs,” Turner said in a packed venue at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum where he introduced Bloomberg.
In his speech, Bloomberg highlighted his philanthropy, spoke of his record as New York City Mayor, and expanded on his plan to help people of color in America.
“I am committed to using the power of the presidency to right the wrongs of institutional racism wherever they exist, in our schools, workplaces, prisons, courtrooms, and our healthcare system and housing markets,” Bloomberg said.
Last month, Bloomberg unveiled the Greenwood Initiative— his plan to help Black Americans, including investing $70 billion in low-income neighborhoods and doubling the number of Black-owned businesses.
His twenty-minute speech also put heavy emphasis on gun violence and his work in eroding the power of the National Rifle Association.
The event was attended by a number of other prominent Bloomberg supporters, including gun safety advocate Calandrian Simpson Kemp— a Houston mom who lost her 20-year-old son George Kemp Jr. to gun violence.
Bloomberg’s “Mike for Black America” launch comes days after a 2015 audio recording of him defending NYC’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” made headlines.
In his Houston speech, Bloomberg said he has since spent time reflecting on the policy and speaking to families it affected.
“I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it, I didn’t and for that, I apologized,” he said.
In his introduction of Bloomberg, Turner touched on the stop-and-frisk policy, calling it “flawed” and “insensitive,” but ultimately praising Bloomberg for his public apology.
“I’m someone who believes that you don’t judge someone by the mistakes they make, but judge them by the ability to fess up,” Turner said.
Since launching his campaign, Bloomberg has forgone early voting states and instead invested heavily in Super Tuesday states like Texas. His campaign has opened almost 20 offices in the state staffed by 150 people. By far, it’s the largest Texas operation among the Democrats in the field.
Photo: Fernando Ramirez/Texas Signal
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at email@example.com