Presidential race in Brooklyn: Antonio Reynoso is in search of an workplace
BROOKLYN, NY – With early voting in New York City, the stage is set for Brooklyn voters to choose who will be their next district president.
In the June 22 primary, there will be 12 Democratic candidates running to succeed Borough President Eric Adams, who is running as the next mayor of New York City.
Among them is Antonio Reynoso, who oversees North Brooklyn’s 34th borough on the city council, which includes Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Ridgewood.
Patch reached out to all candidates of choice to help create these profiles. Reynoso’s answers are below:
Age (from election day)
Brooklyn District President
Iliana Reynoso (wife) / Andres, 7 months, (son) / Alejandro, 3 years, (son)
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
Bachelor in Political Science
Councilor, 7 years
Previous or current elected or appointed office
Councilor, District 34
Why are you looking for an election office?
My parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic with almost no money and had to rely on government aid to survive. Grocery stamps, Section 8, Medicaid – we needed it all. As a community organizer, and now a council member, I have dedicated my life to finding ways to make Brooklyn stronger, better, and fairer for everyone, including working-class families like mine.
From fighting environmental racism by reforming the corrupt private plumbing industry, to standing up against big developers to protect affordable housing, to reforming the NYPD, I’ve always taken up tough battles. As Borough President, I will bring my activist spirit to Borough Hall to lead Brooklyn and bring our post-COVID communities together to ensure a fair recovery that empowers our most vulnerable and finally addresses the long-standing injustices exposed by the pandemic.
The most pressing issue we (board of directors, district, etc.) face is _______ and this is what I intend to address.
The most pressing problem Brooklyn is facing is rebuilding from the COVID pandemic. Here in Brooklyn, we’ve always been defined by our diversity, the strength of our communities, and our resilience to hardship. But to move us on a stronger path forward, we need courageous, uncompromisingly progressive leadership that is fighting for truly affordable housing, support for our small businesses, economic justice, and action to eradicate longstanding injustices, from our schools to our hospitals to towards our criminal justice system.
On the council, my bill to bring outdoor dining to New York City saved 100,000 restaurant jobs. As District President, I will bring the same kind of creativity to protect our local businesses; Empower communities, not large developers, to take leadership roles in land use decisions; build affordable housing in every neighborhood; continue my work to create healthier communities and end environmental racism; and reform the police force while reducing crime by reducing poverty and growing our economy for everyone, not just the rich and well-connected.
What are the key differences between you and the other candidates seeking this position?
Having served as community organizer and coalition builder on the city council for many years, I have the skills and experience necessary to serve our families as Brooklyn Borough President. From organizing black men in college to organizing low-income tenants for ACORN to building a coalition of unions, environmentalists and transport advocates to reform the private plumbing industry, I’m a community organizer at my core.
Our campaign is run by everyday Brooklynites, and I’m proud to say we don’t accept donations from real estate developers or influential special interests. We have also formed a broad and diverse coalition with the support of: the NY Working Families Party; Congress member Nydia Velázquez; Public Attorney Jumaane Williams; Perform the street action; Council of School Inspectors and Administrations; United Auto Workers Region 9A; State Senators Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar, and John Liu; Congregation members Marcela Mitaynes and Maritza Davila; New York Communities for Change and many more community leaders and progressive organizations.
As Borough President, I will continue to lead from the grassroots, engaging, engaging, and listening to residents from Greenpoint to Bed Stuy to Bay Ridge. We will reform the community boards to make sure they look like the communities they serve; Empower communities to take leadership roles in development decisions; and organize working families and those who have been marginalized and left behind to give them a real voice in government.
How do you think local officials have reacted to the coronavirus? What if you did something differently?
Elected officials at all levels of government should have done more to respond to the COVID pandemic and to mitigate its impact on communities, especially low-income, colored communities.
While the COVID pandemic has hurt us all, not all communities have been equally affected. The COVID response from our city, state and federal leaders has consistently been underserved for the communities that need the most help – we saw this in the unfair access to PPP loans for restaurants, insufficient testing capacity and PSA supplies in the communities, those affected were hardest hit, and our city’s failure to bridge the digital divide when we moved to virtual learning. As district president, I will hold all levels of government accountable for helping the communities that have been hardest hit.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
In addition to achieving an equitable recovery from COVID, my top priorities as district president will be affordability of housing and access to quality public education.
With Brooklyn facing an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis, I will be leveraging the office’s bullying pulpit and capital budget to help maintain affordable housing and create deeply affordable housing in every community.
I will also fight for real investment in our schools, especially among low-income populations where students, parents and teachers have long felt the effects of an inequitable, segregated and under-equipped school system.
What past accomplishments would you cite as evidence that you can handle this job?
My track record as a councilor is proof that I will be an effective district president and deliver real results for working families across the district. During my tenure on the city council, I overhauled the corrupt private plumbing industry with the passage of the Commercial Waste Zones Bill; fought for greater police accountability and supported the anti-stop-and-frisk “right to know”; and was the main sponsor of Stand for Tenant Safety, a package of laws designed to protect tenants from harassment.
I plan to bring my deep knowledge of the problems Brooklyn residents face on a day-to-day basis and to gain experience in leading city government to address them on behalf of our residents.
The best advice I’ve ever given was:
Keep positive energy and a positive attitude!
What else would you like to tell the voters about yourself and your positions?
I take pride in finding common ground and common problems among broad circles in order to create solid public policies that benefit the broadest section of the population. During my time on the Council, I have consistently found partners from across the political spectrum to work on issues that affect our communities. This coalition building carried over to my campaign and helping us form a coalition of community leaders, trade unions and interest groups – like the Working Families Party, Congressman Nydia Velazquez, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Make the Road and many more.