Messinger in 2012
|24th Borough President of Manhattan|
January 1, 1990 – December 31, 1997
|Preceded by||David N. Dinkins|
|Succeeded by||C. Virginia Fields|
|Born||November 6, 1940 (age 74)
|Alma mater||Radcliffe College
University of Oklahoma
|Occupation||President/CEO, American Jewish World Service|
Ruth Wyler Messinger (born November 6, 1940) is a former political leader in New York City and a member of the Democratic Party as well as the Democratic Socialists of America. She was the Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City in 1997, losing to incumbent mayor Rudy Giuliani. She is married to Andrew Lachman, her second husband, and has three children. She is currently the President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, an international development agency.
Life and career
Born and raised in New York, Messinger attended the Brearley School. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1962 and received a Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma in 1964. Messinger was a delegate to the 1980 Democratic National Convention and served on the New York City Council from 1978 to 1989, representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In the City Council, she proposed extending rent control 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.
A political liberal, 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, but avoided it by receiving 40% of the vote during a recount.
In 2005, Messinger endorsed 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.
Since 1998 she has been CEO of American Jewish World Service. In late 2005, following a high-profile year that included the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, The Forward, 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. Messinger is also a board member of Hazon and a trustee emerita of the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women.
- Jewish Women's Archive Encyclopedia entry for Ruth Messinger http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/messinger-ruth
- American Jewish World Service website
- Ruth Messinger biography at the Wayback Machine (archived July 31, 2001)
- Article on Ruth Messinger in Slate Magazine
- Ruth97.org at the Wayback Machine (archived January 21, 1997)
- Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution from the Jewish Women's Archive
- Hazon website
Henry T. Berger
|New York City Council, 4th District
David N. Dinkins
|Borough President of Manhattan
C. Virginia Fields
|Party political offices|
David N. Dinkins
|Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York
Mark J. Green