As the September 10th Democratic Primary approaches, Antonio Reynoso is prepares for what lies ahead. After years of working as chief of staff to current City Councilmember Diana Reyna, Reynoso is breaking out on his own and hoping to fill his soon to be former boss’ term limited seat in the council.
Reynoso started preparing for his campaign shortly after Reyna’s 2009 win, knowing that in four years term limits would leave the seat vacant. He spent the time sharpening his political skills and creating a platform.
Reynoso was born and raised in the Southside, where he was an ESL student and his parents faced many economical struggles. After years of public schooling, he received a scholarship to go to La Salle Academy for high school and later studied teaching at Le Moyne College. It was there that he became interested in politics.
“I had a political science teacher that completely warped my mind,” explained Reynoso. “He said ‘a teacher affects change classroom by classroom, but somebody in political office can affect change community by community.’”
Education and housing are at the forefront of his campaign. Reynoso said these are the underlying reasons for most of the issues residents are facing here, such as poverty and crime.
“Education is how we break the cycle of poverty. No matter how poor or rich you are, if you get a quality education you have an opportunity to compete,” he said. He wants to make sure that local schools receive the necessary resources to afford children with quality education, whether that is through books or afterschool programs. He also hopes to help teachers by continuing professional development. He has worked in the past to organize childcare providers for the UFT, helping them receive benefits and higher pay.
To help rebuild the middle class, Reynoso plans to incentivize developers to build middle-income housing. He’s keeping in mind the second generation, the children of longstanding residents who are coming back to live in the neighborhood. “They can’t get affordable housing because they fall out of the price range and they can’t afford the market rate and end up moving to other communities,” he said.
While protecting the community’s longstanding residents is important to him, he also acknowledges the new residents entering the neighborhood. “Both communities have the same interests. It’s not the rich versus the poor. Change is inevitable and I want to make sure everyone is working together in this community,” he said.
The campaign has been a tough one, but Reynoso just wants to make his neighborhood proud. The community needs strong voices and he’s hoping to be just that.
Primary Day is September 10th.