By Brooke Criswell, Contributor
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, spoke at the Peter J. Hoagland Lecture Series on Wednesday evening in the Mammel Hall building.
As the 109th mayor of New York City, de Blasio’s speech focused much on the economic inequality and what de Blasio has done over the past two years to better his community and push forward nationwide changes.
De Blasio, a Democrat, criticized both his own party and Republicans, saying that neither party wants to talk about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. According to de Blasio, the gap has become a national crisis that both parties have failed to address. De Blasio has upset many in his own party, partly because of his refusal to endorse presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
De Blasio expressed how he wants the American dream to continue to be based on the notion that each generation would inevitably do better and have greater opportunities than the one before. He also stated he has talked with parents with everyday struggles who are concerned over the opportunities available for this generation.
According to de Blasio, prosperity and opportunity are becoming more elusive.
He said he wants America to continue to have a middle class and not let the country be defined by poverty or wealth. He also said he wants everyday people to be awarded for their work.
De Blasio called for a raise in in-come taxes for those making more than $1 million. He also praised Warren Buffet for speaking out against economic inequality a few years ago.
De Blasio declared that the growing gap between rich and poor hurts the wealthy as well as the poor. His reasoning is that if people don’t have enough money to purchase goods and services, the economy will suffer, cutting into everyone’s bottom line.
“The people can lead the people out of this crisis,” de Blasio said.
Overall, de Blasio stressed three principles: build an economy for everyone, help working parents and honor hard work.
The donors and families were invited to a reception beforehand. The event was open to the public who were offered overflow rooms where the lecture was streamed live on a projector. Overall, about 250 people were present.
“I think it went very well,” Jennifer Arnold, public relations director at the University of Nebraska Foun-dation, said. “There was a lot put into preparation and a lot of people who helped put it together and it was well worth it.”