Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, is scheduled to visit Eastport for the second time in as many years to visit his aunt and to give an informal talk.
De Blasio’s aunt, Jean Wilhelm, lives in Eastport and has long been involved in Stage East and the Eastport Arts Center. De Blasio spoke at the arts center last Jan. 13 and is scheduled to speak there again at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.
Last year, de Blasio’s talk was on the state of democracy. This year, he is expected to give an informal talk titled “50 Years After MLK: The Path to Progressive Change Today.” The talk will serve as a fundraising benefit for the arts center.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an annual federal holiday, will occur this year on Monday, Jan. 21, two days after de Blasio’s scheduled talk.
“Wherever I go in the country people yearn to restore a sense of community,” de Blasio said in a statement on the upcoming talk that was released Wednesday by the arts center. “I find that the Eastport Arts Center achieves this goal in exemplary fashion.”
In remarks de Blasio gave last year at a New York press conference, just prior to his Eastport visit, the mayor said the purpose of his visit was to spend time with Wilhelm around her birthday.
“When she moved there, she got very involved in helping to develop an arts center there, and it’s an extraordinary facility in this small city,” de Blasio said. “And I wanted to go to be with her after her birthday, and to salute her contributions to the town, and to support the work of this art center that she did so much to help foster. So, this is a labor of love.”
Wilhelm will celebrate her 92nd birthday this year on Thursday, Jan.10.
De Blasio was born in New York but grew up in Massachusetts. A graduate of New York and Columbia universities in New York City, de Blasio began his political career as a regional federal Housing and Urban Development administrator. He served as a New York City Council member from 2002 to 2009 and then as the city’s Public Advocate before being elected to his current office in 2013 and re-elected in 2017.