2021 Elections: Who’s running for City Council in the 37th District


The 37th Council District covers the neighborhoods of Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills, Ocean Hill, and Brownsville. Incumbent Councilmember Darma Diaz was elected to the seat in 2020 after her predecessor Rafael Espinal abruptly resigned in January.

The contentious Democratic major was dominated by authorized battles between party-backed Diaz and her upstart opponents over petitioning necessities to get on the poll amid the pandemic, which resulted in state court docket judges booting all of Diaz’s opponents off the Democratic ticket forward of the vote.  

According to the newest Campaign Finance Board filings, seven persons are registered to run for the seat this time round, a lot of them returning candidates from final year’s primaries. Four candidates accomplished Brooklyn Paper’s questionnaire. Candidates Chris Durosinmi and Randolph Ferdinand didn’t reply for remark and no contact info or marketing campaign web site may very well be discovered for candidate Heriberto Mateo.

Here are the candidates who responded, ordered alphabetically by their final names:

Misba Abdin

City Council candidate for the 37th District Misba Abdin.Courtesy of marketing campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Misba Abdin: The political structure in Brooklyn and this neighborhood have modified drastically. No extra do now we have cope with the Towns and the Dilan dynasties. I deliver a recent spirit to this marketing campaign, I’m not beholden to any social gathering or any ultra-progressive teams. I service this neighborhood, attempting to supply the residents of the 37th District with a lot wanted neighborhood management, now I’m blessed to be given this chance to supply the similar sort of service however when elected on a bigger scale. I’m additionally a businessman and perceive the rising centricities [sic] of this district and I deliver managerial expertise which might be most vital now throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.

BP: Tell us about your self and your relationship to the district.

MA: I’ve lived in Cypress Hills for a very long time now. I run a profitable not-for-profit company that now has develop into the lifeblood to many in our district.

BP: What are the greatest challenges dealing with the district and the way will you remedy them?

MA: Some of the greatest issues we face in the district are public security, housing, job safety, and I can go on and on about the diminished providers of our native chief’s as they hold forth about providers throughout the pandemic.

BP: What will you do otherwise than the incumbent?

MA: One of the first issues I’ll got down to do is place my office in a neighborhood that desperately wants social service packages and an official entity to information them in resolving their wants. I can even present satellite tv for pc places of work in different sections of the district. We would preserve our places of work to be open each day and supply set workers in these places of work. This has by no means been performed on the scale we want to accomplish.

BP: What’s your political expertise?

MA: I’m a political novice, and most of my service offered to assists residents of the 37th Council District is as a neighborhood chief and businessman. What higher method to elect somebody who’s offering providers already.

BP: Any official endorsements?

MA: To this date I’ve no grandiose endorsements from established unions or political events. I’ll have the help of the residents and fellow neighborhood leaders that can assist my marketing campaign in changing into one in every of the first Bangladeshi City Councilmember representing a Brooklyn district.

Darma Diaz (incumbent)

Darma Diaz.Jonathan Ortiz

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Darma Diaz: I’m running to additional the neighborhood service work I’ve performed for a number of many years. I’m running to be a voice for the underserved, for a neighborhood affected by poverty, homelessness, insufficient healthcare, overcrowded lecture rooms, pervasive crime, rubbish dumping, and an absence of youth packages.

BP: Tell us about your self and your relationship to the district.

DD: I stay in Cypress Hills. Before the Council, I used to be housing director at a neighborhood household shelter, accountable for inserting households into everlasting housing and making certain they had been supported with follow-up providers. Over the previous few many years, I spent numerous my free time volunteering as an training advocate, immediately ensuing in the creation of 4 public colleges in the district.

I labored to pair probation officers with native service suppliers in an effort to scale back recidivism, whereas additionally serving on the seventy fifth Precinct Community Council and the Zone 2 Advisory Board as a part of their govt management. As a housing advocate, I spent tons of of hours on the East New York rezoning project, the place my work resulted in significant, measurable adjustments to the metropolis’s unique plan. I helped with many neighborhood clean-up occasions and with the preservation of Highland Park; I’m additionally a founding member of BACDY’s (Bangladesh American Community Development Youth Services) and I served on the board at BMS Family Health & Wellness Centers.

BP: What are the greatest challenges dealing with the district and the way will you remedy them?

DD: Housing continues to be the single best difficulty. We are nonetheless coping with gentrification and shortly we are going to see how the East New York rezoning plan helps or hurts the space. This contains homelessness, residence possession growth and preservation, and help for renters which have lost their jobs.

So a lot of our mom-and-pop companies are gone. The remaining ones are struggling, and there’s a dire must protect and create extra native companies. Quality of life points, beginning with public security and crime, however extending into cleaner streets, help for Highland Park, alternatives for youth, and help for seniors.

BP: How do you distinguish your self out of your challengers in the race?

DD: They merely aren’t on the market supporting the full wants of the district. I’ve a accountability to the total district.

I additionally received’t exclude any trade merely “because.” That is a lazy answer to a much bigger difficulty. Real property has to have a seat at the neighborhood’s desk. That trade is required to build! That doesn’t imply that they are going to be allowed to do something they need, however neither will some other trade or group. My coverage stays: you’re welcome at the planning desk offered you help the neighborhood and its wants, and might show it.

BP: What’s your political expertise?

DD: In addition to me being the present councilmember, I’m a former District Leader of a few years. I’ve additionally labored on quite a few native political campaigns. And I served for a number of years as workers to former Assemblymember Darryl Towns.

BP: Any official endorsements?

DD: I’m nonetheless in the interview course of in search of endorsements.

Rick Echevarría

City Council candidate Rick Echevarría.Courtesy of marketing campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Rick Echevarría: I’m running as a result of I’m a de Blasio administration whistleblower. NYC’s housing businesses— HPD, NYCHA, and the Department of Homeless Services—are tormented by deep ranges of administrative housing corruption. It’s time the almost three-decades-long period of administrative housing corruption is delivered to an finish.
BP: Tell us about your self and your relationship to the district.

RE: I used to be born north Brooklyn and raised in Bushwick’s Hope Gardens Public Housing growth. My mother and father owned a bodega on Gates Avenue whereas I used to be rising up and I attended St. Brigid’s college.

I’m a product of this neighborhood. It’s the place I realized methods to develop into a neighborhood organizer, it’s the place I based the Bushwick Housing Independence Project, and it’s nonetheless residence. After working in senior administration at HPD and changing into a whistleblower, I began a career as a contract ESL instructor working remotely with college students from throughout the world. 

BP: What are the greatest challenges dealing with the district and the way will you remedy them?

RE: Housing is the primary downside dealing with the district, and it’s a downside with many dimensions together with provide, affordability, and high quality. The points stem from a longstanding failure to correctly administer housing packages and coverage on the a part of our metropolis’s three housing businesses.

The answer is to reorganize our metropolis’s housing businesses, and to usher in an period of performance- and impact-based administration and accountability. NYCHA is presently present process court-mandated reorganization, HPD and DHS needs to be compelled to do the similar. 

BP: What will you do otherwise than the incumbent?

RE: I’m the solely candidate in this race that has led a nonprofit group in the district and labored at a senior degree in metropolis authorities. I feel I’m greatest geared up to struggle the issues of housing fraud and corruption as a result of I’ve spent my career understanding it and combating it. I’m the housing knowledgeable in this race.

I’m certain my opponents care about housing points, however none of them have a résumé that compares to my precise observe document of direct expertise working to fight and remedy the housing disaster in the district.

BP: What’s your political expertise?

RE: I’ve been a staffer on a number of political campaigns throughout the previous decade, all in efforts to elect pro-tenant candidates to metropolis and state authorities. I used to be the marketing campaign supervisor on Jumaane Williams’ 2009 normal election race towards then incumbent Kendall Stewart. 

BP: Any official endorsements?

RE: I’m pursuing only a few endorsements and shall be saying some quickly, however general I’m not running an endorsement-based marketing campaign.

Sandy Nurse

City Council candidate Sandy Nurse.Brandon Harrison

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Sandy Nurse: I’m running to be a fighter for District 37 in City Hall. Our underserved and beneath resourced neighborhood is dealing with deep crises which have solely been additional exacerbated by COVID-19.

I’m running to finish homelessness and housing insecurity; for prime quality equitable public training for each single particular person in this metropolis; to make sure our youth are nurtured, protected and engaged; to struggle for all individuals in New York to have entry to protected, dignified work with dwelling wages; and to ensure that now we have a livable future in the face of local weather change.

BP: Tell us about your self and your relationship to the district?

SN: I stay in Bushwick and for the final decade I’ve been concerned in opening neighborhood gardens, constructing out giant city farms, beginning a youth job program, and opening a neighborhood house. I’m the founding father of BK ROT, and am the co-founder of Mayday Space.

BP: What are the greatest challenges dealing with the district and the way will you remedy them?

SN: COVID-19 recovery is my prime precedence. For the final 11 months, our meals distribution program has delivered to neighborhood members in want. Every week, via a partnership with Universe City and different neighborhood organizations, we help over 2,000 households with a provide of luggage of meals, however we all know we’re not reaching everybody.

As we enter the subsequent section of COVID vaccinations, we have to acknowledge that our metropolis’s financial recovery shall be lengthy. The vaccine isn’t a magic wand.

BP: What will you do otherwise than the incumbent?

SN: Our platform is the most formidable progressive platform that covers not solely housing and native financial growth, however a variety of points that affect this neighborhood and our metropolis. I’m not a single difficulty candidate. I’m a candidate that may communicate to a full spectrum of points which might be deeply intertwined.

BP: What’s your political expertise?

SN: I’ve labored inside the grassroots for most of my grownup life. I’ve stood on the frontlines with 1000’s demanding police reform, actual motion to struggle again towards local weather change, rights for tenants, and enforcement to cease predatory builders.

I’ve created neighborhood areas and tasks that 1000’s of individuals in our District use each year. I additionally served on the Community Board 4.

BP: Any official endorsements?

SN: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, State Sen. Julia Salazar, State Sen. Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Maritza Davila, Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road Action, TREEage, Run For Something, Women of Color for Progress, Churches United for Fair Housing, Vocal New York Action Fund, New Kings Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, Citizen Action, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.

Note: Some responses have been edited for brevity, readability, and elegance consistency.


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