It was a contentious race, as ousted Assemblyman Vito Lopez and Antonio Reynoso, Chief-of-Staff to current 34th District Councilmember Diana Reyna, battled to replace the term limited Reyna. But in Tuesday’s primary, Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood residents chose Reynoso, delivering to him nearly half the district’s votes.
Reynoso, who has been dubbed Reyna’s political protégé, won the 34th with ease by a margin of 12 percent, which calculates to a little more than 1,400 ballots. He released the following in a statement Tuesday night in response to the election outcome:
“I am thrilled by tonight’s results. We waged a strong campaign on the ground and that made all the difference,” he said. “In recent years I have had the privilege of working on issues like affordable housing, education, and job creation that will define our future. In the City Council, I plan to build on my record, and deliver the honest, ethical, and progressive leadership that our community deserves.”
Now, days after an eventful and fruitful night watching the polls, Reynoso, though grateful, is still in disbelief.
“It hasn’t even hit me,” he said. “But I’m honored, and I feel so proud of my community for the work they did and for coming out to vote to really make sure that the City of New York knows that we weren’t going to accept a sexual harasser as our representative.”
The young future Councilmember managed to beat out the 30-year veteran, Lopez, who touted a record throughout his campaign for ushering in needed improvements to affordable housing and development in Williamsburg and Bushwick – a platform believed to have the potential to narrow the gap between him and his opponents. But his most recent record – stepping down from his seat in the Assembly earlier this year due to accusations that he groped, tried to kiss and talked inappropriately to female interns – stripped him of his chances of returning to local politics.
But going forward, Reynoso strives to be a reminder that the community will not be defined by the mishaps of its past. He’s prepared to bring forth the changes he says District 34 needs, foremost in education and housing.
“Education is going to be the foundation of what I focus on. Housing will be too; it needs to be addressed everywhere in New York really, but it has to be looked at more comprehensively,” he said, suggesting that the entire community comprises an interlocking and interdependent network of issues. “We need to think about transportation, parks; we need to think about it all. People want to live in a place with good schools, accessible libraries and beautiful parks. Our community needs more resources, and the person to give them all that is me.”
It’s been an exhausting journey to the City Council, and Reynoso’s career is only just beginning. Four years is plenty of time to make a lasting mark on the people of District 34, and he’s hoping to make them proud.
“I want to be smart and efficient in addressing the issues of my community because I’m proud of my community.”