February 22, 2018
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announce J. Phillip Thompson as Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. Thompson is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also oversees the Housing, Community and Economic Development Group. In addition to his expertise in urban politics and coalition building, Thompson's experience working in New York City government makes him well poised to oversee the Administration's signature initiatives that require major interagency collaboration.
"Phillip is one of the foremost experts on how to better serve and lift up low-income neighborhoods, and has spent decades fighting in the trenches for progressive causes. He will make sure our agencies are working together to make New York City the fairest big city in the nation. As New Yorkers, we're all very lucky he decided to come home, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I would also like to thank Richard Buery for his four years of service to our city. With Pre-K, 3-K and Thrive NYC, he has improved the lives of New Yorkers across the five boroughs."
"As a scholar, activist and public servant, Phil Thompson has never shied away from the tough challenges that affect our communities – from economic, racial and health disparities to environmental justice and affordable housing. I'm confident that Phil, as our new Deputy Mayor, will serve the people of New York City well, and I look forward to working with him on the issues that matter most to our City," said First Lady Chirlane McCray.
"I want to thank the Mayor and First Lady for giving me the opportunity to come back to where my career began, and join a progressive administration that puts people first. I will work every day to ensure the City continues to deliver real change to New Yorkers across the five boroughs," said J. Phillip Thompson.
"I am so thankful to the Mayor and First Lady for the opportunity to serve my hometown, and help implement programs like Pre-K and Thrive NYC that have changed the lives of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers," said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. "Phillip Thompson is the right person to continue the good work we have achieved these last four years."
"I have known Phil Thompson for 25 years and can attest to his commitment to public service," said former Mayor David Dinkins. "I have full faith that his deep understanding of how to build coalitions will make New York City stronger, and improve the lives of its citizens."
"Philip Thompson is a dedicated public servant and a visionary leader who has demonstrated a real commitment to utilizing community-led strategies to address the challenges facing poor and working class New Yorkers," said George Gresham President of 1199SEIU. "It's one thing to tell communities what they need, but true leaders work hand in hand with community members to find answers and craft meaningful solutions. I look forward to working with Philip Thompson to help improve conditions for working men and women throughout New York City."
"Phil Thompson is an ardent advocate for equitable access to healthcare. He helped us to make the connection with how our labor issues are specifically linked with the needs of the community served by Interfaith Medical Center," said Jill Furillo, Executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association.
"Congratulations to Mr. Thompson on today's appointment as Deputy Mayor. I look forward to working together in the coming years, particularly around issues like probation and criminal justice. A very big thank you to Deputy Mayor Buery for his service, including being the key architect of Pre-K for All. His legacy will be felt long after he leaves City Hall," said Council Members Keith Powers.
Dr. David Cohen, Executive VP for Clinical Affairs and Affiliations at Maimonides Medical Center, who has worked with the appointee on Population Health strategies, said: "Mr. Thompson is a visionary and has decades of experience working in community development. A thoughtful and experienced leader, he's an inspired choice to help the Mayor's office continue to transform the NYC landscape by integrating economic, housing and healthcare development throughout the boroughs."
"Phil is team builder, an inclusive thinker, and a compassionate leader who never tires of asking 'what if?' things could be otherwise and better, and who always uses his big heart and inventive mind to make 'better' happen. We are proud to share Phil with New York City," said Hashim Sarkis, Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning.
"Phil's personal knowledge of the multi-ethnic communities of New York City, coupled with his tremendous compassion, experience and intelligence make him an ideal person to serve as deputy mayor," said Maurice Reid, co-chair of the Coalition to Transform Interfaith Hospital.
J. Phillip Thompson is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he oversees the Housing, Community and Economic Development group. He began working at MIT in 2002, and his interests are in American Politics with a focus on urban politics, race and ethnic politics, political economy and urban policymaking. Thompson's urban planning work focuses on community participation, community development strategies, as well as labor unions and their relationship to community building efforts in low-income neighborhoods.
Thompson is a published on a wide array of topics related to coalition-building in progressive electoral politics, labor relations, public health, environmental justice, and criminal justice. Lately, he has been writing frequently about race and the central role it plays in electoral politics as well as the necessity and the failure of progressive leaders to fully account for structural racism in campaign messaging.
Prior to joining MIT, Thompson worked at Columbia University and Barnard College. He began his career in New York City government first as Policy Assistant to then Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins. Thompson oversaw then Mayor Dinkins' Office of Housing Coordination, and then served as the Deputy General Manager for Operations and Development at NYCHA.Thompson is also a frequent advisor to trade unions in their efforts to work with immigrant and community groups across the United States. He received a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1977, a M.U.P. from Hunter College and a PhD in Political Science from the City University of New York. He and his wife, Bronx- native Dayna Cunnigham, have three children.