(From the desk of Latinarrific Senor Correspondent Kent Wallace: Latinarrific is most certainly an aggregate of all things Latina. And I’ve had the great pleasure of interviewing a wide swath of intriguing characters. Strength, the ability to beat the odds and overcome obstacles seems the thread that runs through this diverse roster of indefatigable and spirited women.
I recently had the honor of interviewing yet another member of this noble sisterhood, New York mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis. Despite her hectic schedule—knee deep in a campaign, against an incumbent, Nicole, nonetheless found the time for a most engaging conversation. We here at Latinarrific are most grateful)….
It’s apropos that someone with as much fight as Nicole Mlliotakis would be born on Veterans Day (November 11th 1980).
Nicole was born in Manhattan and raised in Staten Island. The Republican candidate for mayor of New York City was immersed into the political milieu at an early age.
Give me the courage and fortitude to defeat my fear and give me the strength to fight for what I believe in.’ It’s something of a personal mantra.
“My mother was born in Cuba. In 1969 she escaped the Castro regime and arrived in Miami as a sixteen-year old. As a child of two immigrant parents, my father emigrated from Greece, the ideals of democracy, freedom—the opportunity to better yourself, were cornerstones of my upbringing.”
Nicole’s home was one of multi-cultural mixings. Both proud immigrant parents, while eagerly assimilating and seeking the “American Dream” nonetheless maintained aspects of their heritage—foods, holidays, music et al. As her father was fluent in 5-languages (including Spanish) Spanish was spoken liberally at home.
“Of course things got fairly passionate at home during the George Bush / Michael Dukakis campaign,” Nicole said with a chuckle.
“My mom was for Bush and my dad was behind fellow Greek Dukakis. Despite his partisan leanings my father always said, it was the person not the party that should dictate ones vote. “
While attending New Drop High School, Nicole’s mom encouraged her to get actively involved in politics and community service. She wound up working for a congressional campaign stuffing envelopes, working the phones and pounding the pavement. She was hooked.
“My parents came to New York in search of the American Dream, and through their hard work, they attained a modest living as owners of a small business in Brooklyn. Their dedication and entrepreneurial spirit instilled a sense of ambition in me, one which has inspired my life in public service.”
Nicole’s political pedigree is quite impressive, after graduating from Seton Hall she got right in the mix working as a Community Liaison for New York State Senator John Marchi. She moved onward and upward becoming an Assistant to the Governor for Community Affairs before eventually moving on to Public and Government Affairs Manager for Con Ed.
In 2010 the upstart politico tossed her hat in the ring becoming a member of the New York State Assembly—you might say a few “glass-ceilings” were shattered as Nicole became the first Hispanic elected from Richmond County, the first Greek-American woman elected in New York State, and the only Republican woman elected in the City of New York!
As candidate for mayor she’s lost none of her bravura as she stumps across the city building her constituency. I had to know if she felt she had a chance…
“It may be seen as an uphill battle, but you must remember I defeated an incumbent for Assembly.
“I carry with me at all times a coin with Joan of Arc emblazoned on it. It reads, ‘Give me the courage and fortitude to defeat my fear and give me the strength to fight for what I believe in.’ It’s something of a personal mantra.”
Reminded that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, Nicole is quick to point out, “Yes but only after proving victorious!”
“I want to return New York City to the beacon of hope it was for my parents—a New York where the American Dream can be realized—quality schools, affordable housing—the opportunity for everyone to achieve their aspirations.
“There is much to do here in the world’s greatest melting pot, and I am dedicated, focused and prepared to serve all New Yorkers!”
Nicole comes with both experience and props: In 2013, she was named one of the American Conservative Union’s “Top 10 Under 40” and addressed the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). She was also named a “Top 10 Rising Star” by City & State, one of the Hispanic Coalition of New York’s “40 under 40” Latino Rising Stars, one of MSNBC’s “Young Conservatives To Watch,” and she received special recognition at the 2011 Women of Achievement Awards by the Staten Island Advance.
Additionally, Nicole was named to National Herald’s ’40 under 40,” the Greek America Foundation’s “40 under 40,” and received the “Award of Gratitude” by the Order of AHEPA for her contributions to the Hellenic community.
Latinarrific salutes Nicole Malliotakis…