In the history of the Greek-American community, very few Hellenes are as well known to the general public as the successful John Catsimatidis.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that New York – despite having, by far, the largest Greek-American population in America – has never sent a single Hellene to Congress!
It is not at all easy for an American to pronounce the names of Catsimatidis or Stephanopoulos.
And yet, people learned to pronounce their names because the two men forced them to do so – out of self-respect, and to honor their ancestors.
Catsimatidis’ family is from Nisyros and he came as a baby to New York. His parents were humble people – honest and hardworking. He grew up in a purely Greek environment.
He left New York University in his third year and became involved with supermarkets, where he worked part-time as a student.
His commercial rise has been historic.
The National Herald – which publishes an annual list of the wealthiest Greek-Americans – ranks Catsimatidis as the third richest, with a net worth of $3.3 billion.
All that would mean nothing if Catsimatidis was not a great contributor to our Community and its issues: from the Church – he is Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, to his participation in the annual Greek Parade on 5th Avenue, to his involvement in national issues, to his donations and fundraising efforts for scholarships and philanthropic activities to benefit Greek-Americans.
And now he has decided, for the second time, to run for mayor of New York. In fact, he leaked the news to The National Herald – another indication of his closeness to the Hellenic Diaspora.
The news was greeted, of course, with pride and enthusiasm by the Community.
However, even if he were not a fellow Greek-American, we would still have to vote for him. For two main reasons:
First of all, because he is very well prepared for this position.
And, secondly, because the current mayor has failed to do his job and leaves the city in a bad situation.
Catsimatidis now has the political experience from his first run for mayor, the courage, and the money needed for such an endeavor.
He is similar in many ways to New York's former, successful, mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Hopefully, Catsimatidis will collaborate with other leaders, independent of their political ideology
In addition, he is a businessman with a heart. He knows the problems of the common man – because his parents were simple people. He knows the problems of the immigrant – because he is also an immigrant. He knows the problems of New York – because he has lived here his entire life.
During de Blasio's time in the mayor's office, even before the coronavirus, many problems accumulated.
Now, however, the problems have increased dangerously.
With more than 20,000 dead, with its economy almost bankrupt, New York needs strong, capable leadership to bring this great city back to its previous state.
And Catsimatidis is the right person, at the right time, for this mission.
It is also a historic opportunity for the Greek-American community nationally and more specifically, in New York.
The mayor of the biggest city in America has a lot of clout. A lot. With John in City Hall, we will have our own man in a critical position in America.