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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Wins Second Term, Heightens Focus on Film, TV Job Growth

Bill de Blasio is cruising to an easy victory in the race for mayor of New York City, setting up a second term for the incumbent Democrat who faced weak opposition at the polls.

With just under half of all precincts reporting, de Blasio was leading his closest challenger, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, by a wide margin, with more than 61% of the vote, according to early election returns.

De Blasio, who touts universal pre-K as the banner achievements of his first term, has pledged to focus on affordable housing and otherwise address the high cost of living in New York City. For the entertainment industry, one of the city’s biggest economic drivers, the administration plans to heighten efforts of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in the areas of job training and professional and workforce development.

The local entertainment industry was kickstarted under the Bloomberg administration in the wake of 9/11, and now has grown to become the source of 305,000 area jobs and $104 billion in economic output, according to MOME’s latest figures.

The de Blasio administration had its hiccups with the entertainment industry after his initial choice for MOME commissioner, Cynthia Lopez, left the job after 18 months. Her successor, Julie Menin, has been well received since she took over the job in February 2016. And TV and film lensing in the city has nonetheless continued to grow, thanks to the Empire State’s generous tax incentive programs.

With activity so robust, MOME will concentrate on growing the local workforce and infrastructure that is vital to attracting film and TV production.

“Our focus is on trying to create as many job opportunities as we can for all New Yorkers,” Menin told Variety as New Yorkers cast their ballots on Tuesday. “A lot of what we have planned for the second term really focuses on these workforce programs.”

Those initiatives so far include the five programs (including a grants fund, a writing competition, and new programming on NYC Media TV channels) launched last year to combat gender inequality, as well as a diversity initiative for TV writers (in conjunction with WGA East), and a new training program for post-production jobs. During de Blasio’s first term, MOME also expanded its portfolio to include music, publishing, advertising, podcasts, and virtual reality alongside film, TV, and theater.

Menin said a slate of new programs will be announced later this year, along with a focus on the NYC Media TV stations and the opportunities they present for emerging talent.

“We’re trying to cross market, cross-promote and link our various portfolios and assets as much as we can,” Menin said.

De Blasio’s victory makes him the first Democrat to win re-election as New York City mayor in more than 30 years, since Ed Koch clinched his third term in office in 1985.

(Pictured: Bill de Blasio, center, and Julie Menin with Quad Cinema owner Charles S. Cohen at a ceremony in April)

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