New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Bill de Blasio visited the town of Andrews on Sept. 16 and met with city leaders and citizens at Antonio’s Restaurant on Main Street.

De Blasio has been serving as the 109th mayor of New York City since 2014. On May 16, 2019, he announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Mayor Frank McClary introduced Mayor de Blasio to everyone in attendance.

“We are happy to have him in here in Andrews,” Mayor McClary said. “That hasn’t happened before. We really appreciate him taking the time because small towns have a voice.”

“Going around the room, meeting everyone; I really got the immediate sense of why Andrews is a special place,” de Blasio said. There is a lot of commitment here. A lot of people care and want to make a difference here.”

Mayor de Blasio thanked McClary for serving his country in the Army and guiding the town of Andrews.

“Mayor, I think you are extraordinary,” Mayor de Blasio said. “I have had the honor over the years of working with a lot of public servants all across this country from every kind of city and town. When we met, it was an instant bond.”

Mayor de Blasio said presidential candidates need to come to small towns across South Carolina.

“I actually think we are all pretty much alike in profound ways as Americans,” he said. “I think we all generally want the same things for our families and communities.”

According to de Blasio, it will take an investment to give citizens the programs they need to get back on their feet.

“There is plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands,” he said. “It should be in the hands of the people doing the hard work. From my own experience as mayor of the nation’s largest city, I have devoted our government to putting money back in the hands of working people.”

As mayor, de Blasio created universal pre-K for all 70,000 4-year-olds in New York City and said the program can work everywhere by making it a national mission.

“They said this could not be done,” he said. “If you reach children when their youngest, you can achieve so much. Every child in American should start on the same starting line.”

De Blasio said healthcare should be a right for Americans and doesn’t feel mental health is covered properly. He launched NYC Care, guaranteeing universal healthcare for all New Yorkers.

“I think we have gotten used to excepting a lot less healthcare than we need,” he said. “We have gotten used to a system that is rationing healthcare, with decisions made by insurance companies. I believe in universal healthcare. We can get there; it won’t happen overnight.”

De Blasio said every other industrialized country guarantees citizens paid time off from work and will pass legislation this year in NYC that gives two weeks paid vacation every year. He would do the same for the United States.

De Blasio said education, healthcare and worker’s rights are the three most important issues.

“I don’t have any doubt that we can do these things in America. ”

After his talk with citizens of Andrews, de Blasio went into a question and answer period. The majority were about veterans, small businesses, education, criminal justice reform and international relations.

“The road to the White House runs through Andrews,” he said.