The next Brooklyn borough president’s top priority is addressing the needs of the most vulnerable

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Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0 | Wikimedia Commons

Angelica Tejada

Brooklyn, just like the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan, is holding elections for a new borough president this year. Whoever is replacing Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams must take on the large task of supporting the Brooklyn communities that have been left vulnerable by the pandemic.

Although the role of a borough president may not be commonly known, voters should pay attention to the race, as the borough president does have an influence on what happens and most importantly, what changes are made in that borough.

“They are like mini-mayors (with a lot less power) who serve as cheerleaders for their borough and arbiters of certain community services,” according to The City.

As an ambassador for their borough, they have a good amount of money to put toward their initiatives that the communities need in areas like education, public safety and jobs.

According to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, 5% of the city’s budget, which is about $4 billion, is set aside for borough presidents to fund organizations in their neighborhoods.

Borough presidents can also appoint 50% of community board members, decide on local initiatives, ask council members to introduce bills in City Council on their behalf and weigh in on land-use proposals.

Their power grants them the ability to address the issues faced by the communities that need more attention.

Speaking of issues, Brooklyn has some that are vital for the next borough president to address.

To start, the pandemic has shut down many small businesses, hurt many families economically and challenged the New York City education system.

Along with the hope that is felt with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is also the need to begin recovering from all that was lost during the unprecedented time and that is something the next borough president has to act upon.

Currently, 12 candidates are running to take Adams’ place, which he’s been in since 2013.

Most of the candidates have included some kind of initiative toward rebuilding Brooklyn after the pandemic like Anthony Jones, who is currently serving as a district leader for the 55th assembly district.

“I want to build a more vibrant Brooklyn after the pandemic to develop more industry to create more jobs for our growing younger population. Since Brooklyn would be rebuilding after the devastation of COVID-19,” Jones’ campaign website states.

It’s also key for the next borough president to address the issue of gentrification and lack of affordable housing that has affected many Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bushwick, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, East New York and Red Hook.

One of the runners, Kimberly Council, an ordained minister, has developed over 400 units of affordable housing as the former executive director of the Berean Community and Family Life Center and president of the East New York Housing Development Corporation, according to her campaign website.

Additionally, small businesses in Brooklyn always need more support and backing from those in powerful positions and City Council Member for Brooklyn’s 36th District Robert Cornegy, Jr. has included that in his bid for Brooklyn borough president.

“He is focused on creating a climate that fosters a vibrant array of small businesses that are the anchors of their communities, especially those that are minority- and women-owned,” according to Place NYC.

Ultimately, the next Brooklyn borough president has to understand and connect to the issues that those in Brooklyn want more attention on.