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Ruth Wyler Messinger (born November 6, 1940) is a former American political leader in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
and a member of the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
. She was the Democratic nominee for
Mayor of New York City The mayor of New York City, officially Mayor of the City of New York, is head of the executive branch of the Government of New York City. The Mayoralty in the United States, mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police ...
in 1997, losing to incumbent mayor
Rudy Giuliani Rudolph William Louis Giuliani (, ; born May 28, 1944) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 107th Mayor of New York City The mayor of New York City, officially Mayor of the City of New York, is head of the executive br ...

Rudy Giuliani
.


Biography


Life

Born and raised in New York, Messinger attended the
Brearley School The Brearley School is an all-girls private school Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language ...
. She graduated from
Radcliffe College Radcliffe College was a women's A woman is an adult female human. The term ''woman'' may also refer to a girl (a female child or Adolescence, adolescent). The plural ''women'' is sometimes used for female humans regardless of age, as in ph ...
in 1962 and received a Master of Social Work from the
University of Oklahoma , mottoeng = ''For the benefit of the Citizen and the State'' , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organi ...
in 1964. She is married to Andrew Lachman, her second husband, and has three children. She is formerly the President and CEO of
American Jewish World Service American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United State ...
, an international development agency.


Politics

Messinger was a delegate to the
1980 Democratic National Convention The 1980 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party nominated President of the United States, President Jimmy Carter and Vice President of the United States, Vice President Walter Mondale for reelection. ...
and served on the
New York City Council The New York City Council is the lawmaking Lawmaking is the process of crafting legislation. In its purest sense, it is the basis of governance. This form of law making is also applied in India. It is a process which works in India on the bas ...

New York City Council
from 1978 to 1989, representing the
Upper West Side The Upper West Side (UWS) is a neighborhood in the boroughs of New York City, borough of Manhattan in New York City. It is bounded by Central Park on the east, the Hudson River on the west, 59th Street (Manhattan), West 59th Street to the south, ...

Upper West Side
of Manhattan. In the City Council, she proposed extending
rent control Rent regulation is a system of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by i ...
from individuals to businesses. From 1990 to 1998, she served as Manhattan borough president, an office she gave up to unsuccessfully run for mayor in the 1997 election. Her candidacy made her the city's first female Democratic mayoral candidate. A political
liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
, Messinger was known for her advocacy on behalf of public schools, efforts to achieve compromise between developers and neighborhood activists, and her aggressive media work. She is pro-choice and opposes the death penalty. During her 1997 campaign, she was nearly forced into a Democratic primary runoff with Reverend
Al Sharpton Alfred Charles Sharpton (born October 3, 1954) is an American civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or govern ...
, but avoided it by receiving 40% of the vote during a recount. Although she ultimately lost to Giuliani, she received more than 500,000 votes, more than Fernando Ferrer in 2005, William Thompson in 2009 or Joe Lhota in 2013. In 2005, Messinger endorsed
Fernando Ferrer Fernando James Ferrer (born April 30, 1950) is an American politician who was the Borough President of The Bronx The Bronx () is a borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In p ...

Fernando Ferrer
for mayor in the 2005 mayoral election. Ferrer had briefly run against her for mayor in 1997, before dropping out to endorse her and then run for reelection as Bronx borough president.


Post-political career

From 1998 until 2016 she was President and CEO of
American Jewish World Service American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United State ...
before transitioning to an Ambassador role with the organization. In late 2005, following a high-profile year that included the Asian tsunami and
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
,
The Forward ''The Forward'' ( yi, פֿאָרווערטס, Forverts), formerly known as ''The Jewish Daily Forward'', is an American news media organization for a Jewish American American Jews or Jewish Americans are Americans Americans are the C ...
, a Jewish newspaper based in New York City, named her to the top of its annual "Forward Fifty" list of the most influential
American Jews American Jews or Jewish Americans are Americans Americans are the citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state ...
. Messinger is also a board member of
Hazon Hazon ( he, חָזוֹן ) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, p ...
and a trustee emerita of the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women. In 2015 she was named as one of ''
The Forward ''The Forward'' ( yi, פֿאָרווערטס, Forverts), formerly known as ''The Jewish Daily Forward'', is an American news media organization for a Jewish American American Jews or Jewish Americans are Americans Americans are the C ...
'' 50. Currently, Messinger serves as the inaugural Social Justice Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Social Justice Activist-in-Residence at the Jewish Community Center#Locations, JCC of Manhattan. In 2020 she served on incoming Queens Borough President Donovan Richards' transition team.


See also

* 1997 New York City mayoral election


References


External links


Ruth Messinger's articles at American Jewish World Service website
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Messinger, Ruth Manhattan borough presidents New York City Council members New York (state) Democrats Jewish American people in New York (state) politics Radcliffe College alumni Living people University of Oklahoma alumni Women New York City Council members Brearley School alumni American women chief executives 1940 births 21st-century American Jews 21st-century American women