Bay Ridge

Cucco announces run for assembly

Will challenge Harris in Democratic Primary

May 18, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kate Cucco, a Bay Ridge civic leader, is running for an assembly seat. Photo courtesy of Kate Cucco for New York State Assembly
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The Bay Ridge political scene is starting to heat up with the announcement by Bay Ridge civic activist Kate Cucco that she is running for the New York State Assembly.

Cucco, who served as chief of staff to former Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny when he represented the 46th Assembly District (AD), announced on Tuesday that she intends to run for the seat her old boss once held. Brook-Krasny resigned from his Assembly seat in July of 2015 to take a job in the private sector.

Tuesday’s announcement by Cucco, a Democrat, will likely set up a much-anticipated showdown between her and Democratic Assemblymember Pam Harris in the Democratic Primary in September.

Harris, a retired correction officer and founder of the nonprofit organization Coney Island Generation Gap, won Brook-Krasny’s seat in a special election in November of 2015. Harris was hand-picked to run for the Assembly by the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee, which gave her the nod over Cucco, who was also vying for the party’s nomination.

The primary will take place on Sept. 13. The winner will run in the general election to be held on Nov. 8.

The 46th AD includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Sea Gate.

In her announcement, Cucco said she was running to bring “transparency, reform and accountability” to Albany.

Cucco, a native of Ohio and a graduate of Ohio State University, served as Brook-Krasny’s chief of staff from 2008 until 2015.

Her years serving as Brook-Krasny’s top lieutenant gave her a clear view of how things work in the state Capitol, Cucco said.

“I’m running for state Assembly because I have an insider’s knowledge of government and an outsider’s perspective. Our communities have lost faith in Albany and are seeking new leadership to help bring integrity to the legislature. As a community activist, I have stood hand-in-hand with the people of south Brooklyn and heard their calls for change,” she said in a statement.

Cucco vowed to “fix Albany” and improve the quality of life for residents by “passing laws that protect tenants and put an end to illegal home conversions.”

She also said she would fight to ensure the state gives New York City public schools their fair share of funding and continues its current funding levels of the City University of New York (CUNY).

“I strongly believe that it is government’s responsibility to help create conditions fostering opportunity for all. But right now, our government’s focus is on passing laws which benefit wealthy campaign contributors and big corporations. New York’s priorities need to be supporting working families and growing the middle class,” Cucco said. “This means increasing funding owed to New York City public schools, enacting small-business friendly legislation to help create jobs and lower their tax burden and paying prevailing wages and benefits for the creation of affordable housing so the workers building that housing can afford to live there.”

Cucco is a member of numerous civic organizations including the Bay Ridge Community Council, the 68th Precinct Community Council, the Dyker Heights Civic Association, the Coney Island Democratic Club, Bay Ridge Democrats, Brooklyn Democrats for Change, the Young Philanthropists Council of the Cancer Research Institute, the Women’s City Club of New York and the Ohio State Alumni Club of Greater New York.

Harris, meanwhile, said she hit the ground running once she was elected, sponsoring and co-sponsoring bills on several different issues, including illegal home conversions, ending employment discrimination and recording police interrogations of young people.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie came to the opening of Harris’ Bay Ridge district office last week.

Harris is a member of several Assembly committees, including Aging, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Children and Family Services, and Higher Education.

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