Election 2013: Council District 38 candidates

September 6, 2013 Editorial Staff
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Sara Gonzalez

Sara Gonzalez:

What made you decide to run?

I am a lifelong resident. I began volunteering for my community when I was just 14 years old – and never stopped!  I was the first Latina chair of Community Board Seven and when a sudden vacancy occurred for the council seat, I was drafted by the community to run.

As councilmember for the past 10-1/2 years, I’ve worked to bring nearly $500 million to our local public schools, including funds for the construction of Sunset Park High School and a number of new elementary schools.

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I fought the MTA to restore the B37 bus line and have improved transportation throughout the district. I have worked to keep local day care centers, libraries and fire houses from closing, and opened new senior centers as Brooklyn’s budget negotiator on the council. Right now I’m spearheading Red Hook’s Hurricane Sandy recovery by bringing in funds for Sandy-ravaged homes and businesses in the community.

What issues will you focus on if elected?

In my next term I will continue to work with the community to improve our public schools by providing additional resources for English language skills, more technology in our classrooms and resources for new school construction; keep Brooklyn beautiful by continuing to clean up our parks and playgrounds while preserving open space; protect our community’s at-risk children by providing job opportunities for young people and constructive alternatives to incarceration, and supporting vocational and technical schools.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

My opponent moved into our community after being hand-picked by special interests to run against me. He has no accomplishments to speak of, and no track record in our community.  On the day of the primary, he will not have yet lived in the District for six months

I have put Sunset Park and Red Hook on the map – both politically and in terms of funding.  Indeed, I have delivered more for District 38 than all my predecessors combined!

With the support of my constituents, I will become the most senior member of the New York City Council.  This will mean I will accept a greater leadership position in the hierarchy of the Council.  And that will mean I will be able to deliver even more resources.


Carlos Menchaca

Carlos Menchaca:

What made you decide to run?

Seeing Red Hook devastated by Hurricane Sandy and recognizing that local residents needed more visible and vocal leadership. I helped with relief and recovery efforts because I saw my neighbors were suffering and not getting the support they needed from incumbent Councilmember Sara Gonzalez.

I decided to run for City Council because I know we can do better—we need a councilmember who will be an active and engaged representative for all of our neighborhoods.

The bottom line is that Sara didn’t show up after Sandy, the same way she hasn’t shown up on so many important issues like affordable housing and job creation, and hasn’t shown to up at community debates and forums during this race. It’s time for new leadership.

If elected, what issues will you focus on?

As I’ve knocked on countless doors and talked to voters in every corner of this district, it’s become clear that many people feel overlooked and forgotten by their current Council representative. I am running to change that.

I plan to use my experience in public service and community organizing to be visible and vocal on the issues that matter most to residents here: improving our public schools; creating more good jobs; empowering immigrant entrepreneurs; expanding affordable housing; keeping our neighborhoods safe; and ensuring that small businesses still struggling to rebuild and recover after Sandy receive greater assistance.

What sets you apart from the other candidate?

From rising rents to underfunded public schools, our district is facing serious challenges. But instead of showing up to address these issues, Sara Gonzalez has been missing in action. Our community deserves better. I’ll always show up, engage with residents across the district, and deliver visible and vocal leadership. That’s what sets me apart.

I’m running as the candidate of immigrants, working people, small businesses and affordable housing, while my opponent is running as the candidate of big real-estate and over-development.

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