Brooklyn’s new borough president is for the people


New York City Council | Flickr

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

Local elections may be overlooked by the public, which pays attention to more consequential elections like the presidential or gubernatorial races. However, the race for Brooklyn borough president may have changed that narrative.

Victories in the 2021 New York general election are signs of hope for true change in the city’s quality of life, especially in Brooklyn, with Councilmember Antonio Reynoso.

Reynoso was elected Brooklyn Borough President, while his predecessor, Eric Adams, secured a historic victory as New York City’s second Black mayor. Reynoso secured his victory following a crowded Democratic primary that included Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and City Councilmember Robert Conergy.

Reynoso ran on the platform of tackling many issues that the city faces at a systemic level, including recovery from a detrimental pandemic, education reform and Brooklyn gentrification, an ongoing issue that never makes its way to the main political debate stage.

“Here in Brooklyn, we succeed by never giving up and never giving in. Right now, we need to be tough and pull together in the aftermath of COVID to finally address our affordable housing shortage, dismantle systemic racism, save our small businesses, fix our schools, and stop over development and gentrification,” Reynoso’s campaign website said. “Brooklyn makes us all who we are; and together, we’ll make Brooklyn stronger and fairer for everyone.”

Positive notes to add about Reynoso are that he is no stranger to politics and interacts with the community. Born and raised in the southside of Williamsburg, he started his journey as a community organizer.

As an organizer, Reynoso worked for several Catholic charities and founded the mentorship program known as “Brothers on a New Direction,” BOND, among other things.

Reynoso then served as a city councilmember in District 34, an area that makes up the neighborhoods Bushwick, Ridgewood and Williamsburg.

During his two terms, he was a two-time committee chairperson for the Sanitation Committee, sponsoring legislation to limit the amount of trash handled by districts throughout the city.

“North Brooklyn has 40% of the city’s trash,” Reynoso told the Bushwick Daily. “We were able to reduce the amount of tonnage in North Brooklyn by almost 50%. We were also able to help communities in southeast Queens and the South Bronx, which have the highest asthma rates and a significant amount of trash, reduce their tonnage 33%. So citywide, we reduced trash significantly in overburdened communities with high asthma rates — it was a very proud moment.”

Reynoso plans to continue his fight for environmental justice, which only caught the mainstream media’s attention in recent years. He is a strong proponent of electric cars in the city and wants to invest in solar energy production on Brooklyn rooftop apartments.

Reynoso’s plan to make his mark on Brooklyn could not have come at a better time than the post-pandemic era. His progressive way of thinking is exactly what is going to help the people of Brooklyn.

“Climate change is the greatest threat facing us today, demanding swift, bold action. Brooklyn is almost entirely surrounded by water and rising sea levels will impact our waterfront from Newtown Creek to Mill Basin; our seniors will suffer from increased heat waves; and communities will endure poorer air quality,” Reynoso’s campaign website states. “Antonio recognizes that environmental justice is deeply intertwined with economic justice, so he will fight for a Green New Deal for Brooklyn and innovative solutions.”

Reynoso says he wants to truly invest in the people of Brooklyn.

He dreams of making Brooklyn the safest place for Black women to raise families. Since Black women are more likely to face childbirth complications, Reynoso wants to tackle this issue at the local level by working on implementing public hospitals with ultramodern birthing centers and creating a committee for pre and post-pregnancy work.

It is safe to say that Reynoso’s strongest ideas stem from his plans for a proper transformation in the Board of Elections system. He wants to improve the judicial selection process by requiring all judges to go through thorough background checks to combat corruption and bias.

With voter suppression running rampant in the United States, it is more important than ever to reform the voting system on a local level. With the “John Lewis Voting Rights Act” stalled in the Senate, local officials will have to take matters into their own hands.

Some criticize Reynoso for his lack of media appearances throughout the election cycle, speaking to only a few local papers and not doing enough radio and television interviews. Local elections are often forgotten wars in politics unless a controversial figure enters a race.

Reynoso will need to fill Adams’s void by assuring the residents of Brooklyn that he has their backs in crucial times. His stance on key modern-day political and social issues will bring back Brooklyn’s exceptional quality of life into the post-pandemic era.