Frontus moves forward with plans for think tank
A newly elected lawmaker whose out-of-the-box ideas attracted a great deal of attention on the campaign trail is moving forward with a proposal to establish a Southwest Brooklyn version of a Washington-type think tank.
Speaking at a meeting of the Dyker Heights Civic Association Tuesday night, Nov. 13, Democratic Assemblymember-elect Mathylde Frontus said she is eager to get started.
Chief among her goals, she said, is to set up “the first ever Southern Brooklyn Community Think Tank to discuss the top priorities we will be working on.”
The Southern Brooklyn Community Think Tank would serve as a forum for ideas and would be tasked with coming up with inventive new proposals on improving the quality of life for residents, Frontus said during the campaign.
Frontus won election to an open seat in the 46th Assembly District (Coney Island-Dyker Heights-Bay Ridge) on Nov. 6 and announced at the civic association meeting that she would be sworn into office on Nov. 15.
Frontus defeated Republican Steve Saperstein to win the election. The reason the Assembly seat was open, and why Frontus has to take office immediately rather than wait until the new legislative session begins in January, is that the post is vacant due to the resignation of former Assemblymember Pamela Harris. Harris, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to six months in prison by a federal judge.
Another lawmaker, Assemblymember Peter Abbate, a Democrat who represents parts of Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, also spoke at the civic association meeting.
Abbate, who defeated Conservative candidate Rosemary Mangino in the election, is entering his 12th term in the state Assembly.
Lawmakers are not waiting until January to get to work, according to Abbate, who said a meeting has been planned for right after Thanksgiving to go over issues like transit and health care. “There’s a whole agenda in Albany,’ he told residents at the meeting, which took place at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Hall, 1072 80th St.
The think tank plan was one of several proposals Frontus promoted during the recently-completed campaign.
In an effort to increase civic engagement, Frontus said she would sponsor workshops for people interested in running for public office. She also floated a proposal to have the discretionary budget items of every lawmaker listed online so that voters can see what programs and organizations their assemblymembers and state senators are funding.
Tuesday was not the first time Frontus has attended a Dyker Heights Civic Association meeting, but it marked her first appearance there as an assemblymember-elect.
Frontus a Coney Island resident, said she has been coming to the civic association’s meetings since January. “I’m a friend. I’m an ally. I understand the heartbeat of the community,” she told residents at the meeting.