RHONY Alum and Construction CEO Barbara Kavovit Says She's Running for N.Y.C. Mayor

Sean Neumann
·3 min read

RHONY Alum and Construction CEO Barbara Kavovit Says She's Running for N.Y.C. Mayor

"I may not be a politician, but I'm a Bronx-born New Yorker who isn't fearful of the hard work and tough decisions that lay ahead," she wrote on social media

It's Instagram official: Another New York City reality star and construction owner is running for office.

Barbara Kavovit, who appeared on The Real Housewives of New York City in 2019 as a "friend" of the other housewives and had guested on the show as far back as 2010, announced on social media Wednesday that she is running to become the city's mayor — joining a field that is already shaping up to be full of far more connected and well-known names.

But that didn't stop Kavovit, who is the CEO of Evergreen Construction, an N.Y.C.-based company she founded when she was 21.

The businesswoman-turned-reality star, 55, was born in the Bronx and her company is named for the street where her late father grew up.

Kavovit wrote on Instagram that she decided to run for mayor because she believes the city "is in a state of crisis."

"I may not be a politician, but I'm a Bronx-born New Yorker who isn't fearful of the hard work and tough decisions that lay ahead," she wrote.

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Barbara Kavovit

In an email to PEOPLE, Kavovit says she has been considering the run for more than a year.

"COVID-19 really pushed me over the edge," Kavovit tells PEOPLE.

"What really enrages me is the fact that the government in [New York City] hasn't been able to take care of the people and the businesses that are here," she says.

Dominik Bindl/Getty Barbara Kavovit

On her campaign's website, Kavovit says the novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed inequality in the city and that "our infrastructure is crumbling" and "crime is spiraling out of control."

(Crime statistics show a more complicated story: while the overall rate has not notably increased, shootings were up dramatically in 2020 — though not higher than in past decades.)

"It's time to return to common sense policies and ideas," Kavovit's campaign says.

"The way out of this crisis is not unlike constructing a building: you follow a blueprint and start with the foundation," she wrote on social media. "New York City's foundation has been made structurally unsound, and as a builder, I know how to fix it and lead us out of crisis and into opportunity."

Kavovit enters an already large field of candidates vying to be the city's next mayor in the upcoming November election. Democratic and Republican primaries will take place in June.

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Among the candidates is former 2020 presidential contender Andrew Yang. Brookyln's borough president, Eric Adams, and New York City's comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, currently lead the crowded field with the most funding, The New York Times reported.

"Andrew Yang has big name recognition and nice of him to come back to [New York] to run for mayor after trying to be president, unsuccessfully," Kavovit tells PEOPLE. "And yes, there are a lot of people that have been around for a long time, so here's what I have to say to them: If you've done such a good job why are we in such trouble? And how do you have the nerve to run for office after you've watched over this mess and helped it get created by things you have or haven't done?"

Kavovit says the city needs change and the reality star believes she's the right woman for the job.

"I'm running for mayor because I want to be a catalyst of change and execute my vision for what the greatest city in the world should look like," Kavovit's campaign website reads. "It will take a builder to rebuild New York City, and I'm the woman to do it."