Ruth Messinger

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Ruth Messinger
Ruth Messinger 2012.jpg
Messinger in 2012
24th Borough President of Manhattan
In office
January 1, 1990 – December 31, 1997
Preceded by David N. Dinkins
Succeeded by C. Virginia Fields
Personal details
Born (1940-11-06) November 6, 1940 (age 79)
New York City, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Andrew Lachman
Children 3
Alma mater Radcliffe College
University of Oklahoma
Occupation President/CEO, American Jewish World Service

Ruth Wyler Messinger (born November 6, 1940)[1] is a former political leader in New York City and a member of the Democratic Party as well as the Democratic Socialists of America. 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 formerly the President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, an international development agency.

Life and career[edit]

Born and raised in New York, Messinger attended the Brearley School. She 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 1989, 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 unsuccessfully run for mayor in the 1997 election.

A political liberal, Messinger was known for her advocacy on behalf of public schools, efforts to achieve compromise between developers and neighborhood activists, and her aggressive media work. 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 endorse her and then run for reelection as Bronx borough president.

From 1998 until 2016 she was President and CEO of American Jewish World Service. In late 2005, following a high-profile year that included the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, The Forward, a Jewish newspaper based in New York City, 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 and a trustee emerita of the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women.[2] In 2015 she was named as one of The Forward 50.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Jewish Women's Archive Encyclopedia entry for Ruth Messinger
  3. ^ "Forward 50 2015". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry T. Berger
New York City Council, 4th District
Succeeded by
Ronnie Eldridge
Preceded by
David N. Dinkins
Borough President of Manhattan
Succeeded by
C. Virginia Fields
Party political offices
Preceded by
David N. Dinkins
Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York
Succeeded by
Mark J. Green