Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has been given the title “first” many times in her political career. She is the only Republican woman elected to the state Assembly from New York City, and the first Hispanic- American to win elected office in Staten Island. Malliotakis is also the first of two Greek-American women elected to the office in New York State. She is currently running against Mayor Bill de Blasio to become the first female mayor of New York City.
“Politics is very much still a man’s world and you have to deal with it. For women, it’s particularly difficult to be in public office, and each time a woman comes forward and runs, it makes it easier for others.” Malliotakis said.
Malliotakis’s interest in politics started at a young age, and continued to develop throughout high school and college. Malliotakis’s mother was a Cuban refugee that fled from the Castro Regime in 1959. Her mother influenced her passion for politics by taking her to a campaign office for a local city council member that was running for congress. “My mother really instilled in me at an early age the appreciation of democracy and the ability to elect your leaders,” Malliotakis said.
Being a politician doesn’t accommodate for a convenient social and personal life because of busy schedules and constant traveling. Malliotakis travels to Albany six months out of the year. “I’m away from family, it’s hard to have any type of relationship if you’re single, and it is a sacrifice … you have to really want to do it. I put my all into this job because it’s something I truly love to do.”
According to an Oct. 5 Quinnipiac poll, Malliotakis is trailing incumbent Bill de Blasio by 44 points among likely voters. Despite being a Republican in a Democratic city, Malliotakis and her Communications Director Rob Ryan are confident that she can win the election.
“Nicole will reach out to both sides and do what’s right for the city,” Ryan said. “Right now we have a mayor who has failed on a bunch of levels. We have the subway riders who can’t get to work. The police department who has turned their back on the mayor, they want change. There has been problems in different communities, and they want change too. It’s about getting those people out on election night to vote for change.”
“Women have to be mindful that they can’t wait for someone to ask them to run,” Malliotakis said. “If they want to run they need to just do it, and they have to be aggressive about it because the boys aren’t going to give you an opportunity to take a seat. It’s just the way politics is.”
“Whether I win or lose the mayoral election, I really hope that me just being in the race and taking the plunge to take on someone who I think is not doing a good job as mayor of the city will encourage other young women to pursue a career in politics.”