by Chris Eger
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has teamed up with gun control activist David Hogg to get the nation’s mayors more involved in registering young voters.
The effort, termed Mayors for Our Lives, builds off the name recognition of this year’s polarizing March for Our Lives movement spearheaded by Hogg and other Parkland, Florida high school students with the help of wealthy donors and established gun control groups. The mayors involved pledge to make voter registration forms more available to students and back “get out the vote” campaigns aimed at younger demographics.
Hogg, appearing with De Blasio on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, said the recent surprise win by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillium in Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary came about because of youth advocacy. “In Orlando, our team for March for Our Lives Orlando helped promote voter registration so much that it went up 90 percent in Florida,” he said. “Youth voter registration is up 41 percent. Those people are not taken into account on polls.”
De Blasio, a Democrat who has been at odds with the White House since President Trump took office and has long-allied with groups such as the Brady Campaign, said getting younger voters to the polls is a game changer. “And I’ll tell you something when it comes to gun safety, what I hear from younger voters is uncompromising,” said De Blasio. “They believe it’s a matter of life and death. They’re right. And what David and his colleagues have done has changed American politics and awoken a different sleeping giant which is younger voters.”
The list of Mayors for Our Lives members contains about 75 city leaders spread across 28 states and the District of Columbia with the largest numbers counted among California and South Florida mayors. While described as bipartisan, the mayors hail from largely blue urban centers and feature such anti-gun Democratic standard bearers as Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, Keisha Bottoms of Atlanta, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Sly James from Kansas City. Many have made high-profile pushes for more gun control.
Almost all of the leaders match a list of cities maintained by former New York Mayor Micheal Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, which merged with Moms Demand Action in 2014 to form Everytown. Many also belong to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a group that, spearheaded by De Blasio and Emanuel, adopted resolutions in 2017 condemning national concealed carry reciprocity bills and doubled down this year by endorsing age restrictions on gun sales as well as establishing bans on “military-style assault weapons” among other restrictions.