There’s long been a dispute on who the youngest mayor in New York City history was. Most believe that is was John Purroy Mitchel, NYC’s mayor from 1914 to 1917, who was 34. Mitchel was dubbed the “Boy Mayor” and captivated the entire city as arguably the first media darling of the Big Apple’s political scene. But in reality, the city’s youngest mayor arrived more than 20 years prior. Hugh J. Grant was just 30-years-old when he was inaugurated in 1889.
Collin Slattery has them both beat.
The 28-year-old digital marketing professional is hoping to become the undisputed winner in this category as he embarks on a Mayoral run here in New York City. No, he’s not doing it just for the title of “Youngest Mayor.” He’s doing it because he actually wants to “help.” Yeah, it sounds like a line, but when you talk to Slattery, you start to get the impression that he’s too aw-shucks innocent to have an agenda.
“I love New York,” Slattery told me when I asked why anyone should vote for a callow millennial with zero political experience. “People know within two years of getting here if they are a lifer. I’m a lifer. New York is the most diverse city in the county and the center of the human world. It can and should be better. I’m willing to tackle issues and I’m not going to bullshit anyone. All I want to do is bring good ideas and make long lasting changes that help people.”
There’s that word again. Help. Every politician wants to help. But Slattery has the balls to back up his claims.
Coming from an impoverished single-parent home, Slattery didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. Or to eat consistently. He was on his own at 18, playing poker as a “side hustle” to make money. But he used his data driven mind and self-described “nerd” learning skills to forge a path in the digital marketing world. Eventually, he caught the attention of the now infamous Martin Shkreli, who in 2009 offered Slattery a six-figure job opportunity that could evolve into a multimillion dollar position. While Slattery had no idea that Shkreli would eventually go on to hike the price of AIDS medication by 5,000%, he could tell right away that the man was running a fraud.
But that money! That’s hard for anyone to pass up, especially someone with Slattery’s background.
“It was a tough decision,” he said thoughtfully in between bites of his lunch. “I could either take the money and follow an unethical and illegal path, or I could go the moral route and continue living in poverty.”
Slattery not only declined the offer, he reported Shkreli to the SEC for fraud.
So, yeah, when he says he wants to help people, maybe we should believe it. The guy may be a video game enthusiast and a laughably untalented golfer, but he’s got a steeliness to him when it comes to matters of importance.
But he’s so young. He doesn’t have any experience. How will he know how to govern?
Fair points all around. Slattery is young. He doesn’t have any political experience. But he’s not glossing over these two very important concerns voters might have. He’s addressing them head on.
“I want to stand up for progressive values,” he said. “I have executive skills that translate and where they don’t, I plan on relying on experienced team members and delegating effectively. I’m not blind to these points, I have a lot to learn. But my nerdiness allows me to dive into what I don’t know…My upbringing built resilience and independence. I’ve had to deal with hard situations and make tough decisions before.”
Does Slattery have a shot at unseating incumbent Bill de Blasio? It’s a near-impossible task to stand up to the millions of dollars the establishment has at its disposal. Perhaps the more important question to ask is what does Slattery represent?
“The responsibility for [millennial’s] future is on our shoulders. We can’t rely on Baby Boomers. We’re going to be in a bad situation if we don’t start acting now. Let’s get things done together.”
Regardless of your political affiliations, that’s a sentiment we can all agree on. #ElectNerds