As 2016 nears a close, five candidates have already announced their candidacy for next year’s 13th Council District primary race.
Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, John Marano, Alex Gomez, John Doyle and Marjorie Velazquez-Lynch have announced their intentions to vie for the Democratic party nod to replace Councilman James Vacca, who will be term-limited at the end of 2017.
Vacca has served in the Council since 2005.
On Monday, December 12, Gjonaj announced his candidacy at the Chippewa Democratic Club to over 150 community leaders in attendance.
“I have decided to run for NYC Council, without matching funds, to better address the quality of life issues residents of City Island, Pelham Bay, Throggs Neck and Morris Park struggle with everyday,” stated Gjonaj. “From City Hall I will be in a better position to create more jobs, enhance our neighborhoods, increase our police force and combat homelessness. I look forward to displaying the type of leadership my neighbors have come to know and expect from me.”
The Morris Park native would work to have Mayor de Blasio honor his promise of closing Rodman’s Neck, allocate resources to confront the increasing homeless population and supply local precincts with additional officers to combat the increasing drug epidemic.
Assemblyman Gjonaj starts his third term in Albany in January.
John Marano, a lifelong Throggs Neck resident and community activist, is a well-rounded candidate and dedicated public servant.
“Working almost 20 years of my life as a NYPD officer and NYC fireman is what started my desire to become a public servant,” said Marano. “After retiring from the FDNY, I continued my public service with CB 10 for the last ten years where I worked very closely with the local merchants and residents to better address their needs.”
Marano currently serves as CB 10’s first vice chairman and was the board’s chairman for four years.
As councilman, Marano would insist on a narcotics module for the 45th and 49th precincts to stop illegal drug activity, bring more alternative energy resources and programs to owners of both private and multiple dwellings and address the lack of parking while working closely with property owners throughout the district’s commercial strips to continue attracting businesses needed in the communities.
Colombian born Alex Gomez was raised in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx before moving to Throggs Neck a decade ago.
For the last 18 years, he has been employed in the social services field and currently serves as a Phipps Neighborhoods director.
“Out of all the candidates, I’m the lesser known, but I am the one furthest away from the political machine who can bring fresh ideas to our communities and the city,” said Gomez.
If elected, Gomez would support tax breaks to small business owners and homeowners, bring more social services to the district and the city and create programs for people to become better educated on environmental issues.
City Island resident John Doyle, has listed seven policy platforms including ethics in government, transportation, education and the environment.
His resume includes serving on 45th Precinct Community Council, City Island Civic Association, Councilman Ritchie Torres’ treasurer and Senator Jeff Klein’s community affairs director.
If elected, Doyle would work to renovate the Pelham Bay IRT train station and improve traffic in the surrounding area, institute participatory budgeting allowing residents a direct say in how their tax dollars are spent in their community and hold annual town hall meeting in every community for residents to express their concerns directly to their local representative.
Vacca has endorsed CB 10 member and 82nd Assembly Female District Leader Marjorie Velazquez-Lynch in the race to succeed him.
“Marjorie will be a forward-looking, effective advocate for our children and seniors in the City Council,” Vacca said.
The Throggs Neck resident will focus on improving education at local schools, protecting healthcare access and expanding public transportation in the ‘transit desert’ community.
Council District 13 encompasses Pelham Bay, Throggs Neck, Waterbury-LaSalle, Country Club, Spencer Estate, Westchester Square, Edgewater Park, Silver Beach, Locust Point, Pelham Gardens, City Island, Allerton, Pelham Parkway North and South and Morris Park.
Next year’s City Council primary, as well as races for citywide office, are set for Tuesday, September 12.