Bay Ridge

Transport Workers Union backs Brannan for City Council, candidate announces

July 6, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council candidate Justin Brannan announced that he has received the endorsement of the Transport Workers Union. Eagle photo by John Alexander

Candidate Was First to Advocate for City Control of MTA

City Council candidate Justin Brannan announced that he has garnered the support of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) 100. Brannan is one of several candidates seeking to succeed term-limited Councilmember Vincent Gentile, a Democrat who has represented the 43rd Council District (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) since 2003.

In a district that has been hampered with mounting transit woes and infrastructure needs, the endorsement takes on added significance as the union believes that Brannan would be a major ally in the fight to improve the faltering transportation system.

“South Brooklyn has a community champion and energetic advocate in Justin Brannan,” said TWU International and Local 100 President John Samuelsen. “Justin stood with the hardworking men and women of TWU to restore the B37, and has fought to increase service on the R, N and D lines to expand access for Brooklyn residents.”

“New York state has shortchanged the New York City transit system for far too long,” said Brannan. “The men and women of TWU are on the front lines every day working to literally keep our city running. I’m proud to have their endorsement and look forward to fighting to get Brooklyn residents and transit workers the resources they need and deserve.” 

Last month, Brannan was the first to call for city control of MTA. In fact, he proposed it even before Mayor Bill de Blasio advocated for a city takeover of the system. At the time, Brannan was delighted with the mayor’s vote to restore city ownership of the century-old transit system, and thrilled that the mayor had become the latest city official to consider a plan originally outlined by Brannan in a white paper released in May.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for showing leadership in our state’s transit crisis and considering city control of the MTA as a way to resolve it,” said Brannan at the time. “Right now, politicians on the Canadian border have a bigger say in our city’s transit system than the mayor does. This shouldn’t be. Restoring city control of subways and buses will ensure that New Yorkers have the last say over their transit destiny.”

This followed the introduction in early June of Resolution 1518-2017 by Queens Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) calling for the transfer of MTA control back to the city.

In the white paper, Brannan argued that the change would undo what he characterized as a 50-year-old political decision, and would help address ongoing problems with the aging transit system.

TWU’s endorsement reflects Brannan’s longstanding commitment to addressing transportation issues in the 43rd District, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.

While serving as an aide to Gentile, Brannan helped lead the effort to reinstate the B37 bus between Bay Ridge and Downtown Brooklyn, which MTA discontinued in 2010.

“Our transit network is literally going off the rails,” Brannan told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The men and women at Transport Workers Union do a tremendous job, especially given our current crisis, but more needs to be done. That’s why I’ve proposed restoring city control over MTA buses and subways, to give New Yorkers more say over the public transportation we all use. I’m glad to see that both Councilmember Dromm and Mayor de Blasio are now advocating for this change. I think more officials will start to consider this as upstate lawmakers fail to address the crisis.” 

Brannan is one of four Democrats running for the Council seat. Kevin Peter Carroll, the Rev. Khader El-Yateem and Nancy Tong are also running in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 12.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican Primary in the Nov. 7 general election. The GOP candidates are Bob Capano, Liam McCabe and John Quaglione.