Now with the backing of the Bronx GOP and NYC Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli, she will face fellow Republicans in a June primary with the shared goal of defeating Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez, a Democrat, in the November general election.
“I was a little girl and I knew who Ronald Regan was because my brother was writing letters to him,” she told the Bronx Times. “It’s always been a topic of the dinner conversations.”
But Marmorato, 44, had plans to serve her community through health care. Currently specializing in women’s health at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, she has worked as an X-ray technician for 24 years, 16 of which were in the East Bronx.
The impetus for her run was the Just Home proposal, which Marmorato opposes. The project would house formerly jailed homeless individuals with medical needs coming from Rikers Island in a vacant building inside the Jacobi Medical Center campus. When the idea was unearthed over the summer, Marmorato became involved with the Morris Park Community Association, which hosted a massive meeting in July where attendees expressed outrage.
“I really started to get involved in the community,” she said. “I started going to all the meetings. I started to see a little bit of a disconnect between what’s happening with the city and the community.”
Marmorato has been advocating for the building to instead become a safe house for victims of domestic violence.
“I’m not against housing, I just think it needs to be a really good fit for the community and I think that’s something that the community can get behind and help out with,” she said.
After the holidays, she officially decided she was going to run.
Marmorato secured the endorsement of the Bronx GOP by a vote of 36-1, besting five other Republicans. She said that while her brother’s political knowledge has pushed her to be a better candidate, Rendino and the Bronx GOP haven’t had a role in her campaign.
“I know that because I’m an extension of him, I am kind of under the microscope, and I’m going to be held at a different standard,” she said.
Republicans George Havranek, Phyllis Nastasio, Ariel Rivera-Diaz, Samantha Zherka and Grace Marrero will challenge Marmorato, while conservative Democrat Bernadette Ferrara plans to face the incumbent Velázquez in a Democratic primary.
Rendino told the Bronx Times that he abstained from the nominating vote and debate, though he took part in interviewing all the candidates.
He said that while he hates the idea of his sister getting into politics, he sees her as the future of the party.
“Politics is ugly and my sister is a good person,” he told the Bronx Times. ” … People are going to say she got it unfairly because of her relationship with me and that’s not fair to her and a lifetime of serving the community.”
As Marmorato got more civically engaged, she also tuned into the proposed rezonings that could come with the new East Bronx Metro-North stations planned for 2027, which Mayor Eric Adams is targeting as areas to increase the city’s housing stock. She said she is not against rezonings, but there should be a “happy medium,” like 10-story buildings instead of 20-story buildings near the stations.
While locals rallied against the Bruckner rezoning — which doesn’t go higher than 8 stories — with anti-upzoning protests, Marmorato saw an increase of hundreds of residents in an area with school traffic and one-way streets as the main issue, not building height. Like other candidates in the race, she pointed to Velázquez’s about face on the rezoning, calling it “heartbreaking.”
Marmorato also wants more police funding and more support for public, private and charter schools.
She differentiates herself from her primary opponents by saying she embodies the district. She said she grew up in Throggs Neck, lived in Pelham Bay and Country Club as an adult and now lives in Morris Park with her family.
“In each one of these neighborhoods that I’ve lived in, I’ve developed a network of family and friends, and I know and understand the dynamics of how each of these different communities work, how similar yet different they can be from one another,” she said.
Though 61.5% of active voters in District 13 were registered Democrats in 2021, the district voted 48.5% in favor of Republican Curtis Sliwa in the mayoral election the same year, a slight edge over the 47.4% garnered by Adams. While Velázquez won her seat in 2021 by a 10-point margin over Republican Aleksander Micci, it was far more competitive than the other general election races in the Bronx.
Marmorato sees Velázquez’s 2021 edge — about 2,300 votes — as manageable. She believes voters are “fed up” and willing to cross party lines to change the district’s representation.
Marmorato led the Republican pack with her fundraising by the January filing deadline. She raised $15,960 across 176 donors from Jan. 5-13, which is slightly more than the $15,533 that Velázquez raised for this election cycle between March 28, 2022 and Jan. 13 across 46 donations.
Havranek was the only other competitor who filed a substantial amount by the January deadline, with $8,785.
Velázquez’s campaign did not provide comment for this article.
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes