Ruth Messinger

Ruth Messinger, Presidents of Manhattan Borough, NYC

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Ruth Wyler Messinger (born 1940) is a former political leader in New York City and a member of the Democratic Party. 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 CEO of American Jewish World Service, an international development agency.

Born and raised in New York, Messinger 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 1990, 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 run for mayor in the 1997 election.

A political liberal, Messinger was known for her aggressive media work and frequent press conferences. According to her 1997 website, 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 run for reelection as Bronx borough president.

Since the late 1990s 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, the American Jewish newspaper of record, 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.

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