Bay Ridge council candidates reach out to progressives
With opposition to President Donald Trump by left-leaning Americans showing no signs of slowing down, the four Democrats running in the party’s primary for the City Council seat representing Bay Ridge are all attempting to tap into this energy by reaching out to progressive voters in the district.
Rev. Khader El-Yateem, Justin Brannan and Kevin Peter Carroll made appearances at Meet the Candidates events sponsored by the organization South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance (SBPR) on successive Tuesdays and Nancy Tong is scheduled to speak at the group’s next meetings.
Brannan spoke at a SBPR gathering at Lobo Loco Mexican Cantina on Third Avenue on April 25 and answered questions from the audience issues like education, transportation, affordable housing and skyrocketing commercial rents.
Brannan, chief of staff to Councilmember Vincent Gentile, touted his longtime ties to Bay Ridge, the community where he was born and raised. “I’m the guy from the neighborhood and I’m going to represent everybody,” Brannan told voters at the meeting.
One week earlier, El-Yateem, pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, appeared at a SBPR meeting at the same Mexican restaurant. On May 2, Carroll spoke to the group.
SBPR volunteers were on hand on at all three meetings to help residents register to vote. The sessions were also live-streamed on Facebook.
Tong will speak to SBPR members on May 9.
Brannan, Caroll, El-Yateem and Tong are all running in the Sept. 12 Democratic Primary in the 43rd Council District (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-parts of Bensonhurst). Gentile, a Democrat, has represented the district for 14 years, but is ineligible to run for re-election due to New York City’s term limits law.
The three Republicans running in that party’s primary (also on Sept. 12), Bob Capano, Liam McCabe and John Quaglione, are scheduled to take part in a debate sponsored by the Brooklyn Republican Party on Thursday, May 4 at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th St., at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, candidates on both sides of the political aisle are stepping up with fundraising efforts.
Brannan filed paperwork last week to opt-in to the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) public campaign financing program. Under the program, candidates can receive 6-to-1 in matching funds from the city. Brannan is on track to receive more than $180,000 in public funding.
To be eligible for matching funds, council candidates must meet a two-part fundraising threshold that requires at least 75 contributions of $10 or more from donators in the district and raise a minimum of $5,000 in contributions of up to $175 each.
“You can’t call yourself a true progressive and not participate in the matching funds program. This is the true test of an open, inclusive campaign, and I’m proud to be able to participate in this vital part of the democratic process,” Brannan said in a statement. “Our filings demonstrate the strong support we’ve received from families right here in the community, and I look forward to fighting for them as our next Council member.”
The winners of the two primaries will face each other in the general election on Nov. 7.
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