Crespo, Gibson to run

On Saturday, May 2, Bronx Democratic power brokers picked Marcos Crespo (right) and Vanessa Gibson (center) hope to fill a pair of vacant Assembly seats. Crespo and Gibson, with 85th District Leader Michael Robles (left), will likely run in a special election next month. Photo courtesy of Tom McNeil

On Saturday, May 3, the Bronx County Democratic Committee nominated Marcos Crespo to run for the 85th District Assembly seat vacated by Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Vanessa Gibson to vie for the 77th District seat vacated by Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene.

If and when Governor David Paterson calls a special election, Crespo, 28, and Gibson, 30, will appear on the Democratic ballot. Diaz Jr. was sworn in as borough president on Friday, May 2. According to Board of Elections spokesman Bob Brehm, Paterson could decide against a special election. In that case, the two Assembly seats would be up for grabs at the next general election. Paterson is likely to schedule a special election for June 2, however.

Crespo has served Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. since 2003. He interned with Diaz Sr. in Albany while pursuing a Bachelor’s in government from John Jay College. Crespo graduated in 2004. He travels with Diaz Sr. and is the senator’s policy expert.

“In five years, I’ve done a bit of everything,” Crespo said. “Bills. Late night budgets. You name it, the senator has had an opinion on it and I’ve been by his side.”

During high school, Crespo lived in Puerto Rico, Florida, Queens and Bedford Park. Colleagues in Albany and Bronx leaders encouraged him to run for office, Crespo said. He wants to emulate Diaz Jr., who joined the Assembly at 23.

“Ruben earned respect on both sides of the aisle,” Crespo said. “It would be a shame to let his seat go to waste.”

Crespo will run on his experience in Albany and Soundview.

“I’m about getting work done,” he said. “I understand both the legislative process and the community.”

If elected, Crespo will channel discretionary funds to block and tenant associations. Like Diaz Jr. he will focus on youth.

“You hang out with Ruben and it’s amazing,” Crespo said. “The kids know him.”

If he is elected in time, Crespo will fight for parent power in schools. He isn’t opposed to mayoral control, but believes Michael Bloomberg could cede some responsibility to the five borough presidents. Crespo, a moral conservative, doesn’t support same-sex marriage.

Gibson has served with Greene since 2001, first as an aide in Albany, later as district manager. Like Crespo, she is a legislative vet familiar with Highbridge and Morrisania. If elected, Gibson, a SUNY Albany graduate, will focus on senior housing and public education. She labored to bring a middle school to Highbridge and cited as a success the controversial Gateway Center benefits agreement signed in 2006.

“We worked to make sure [Related Companies] was sensitive to the needs of the district and was willing to offer employment to residents,” Gibson said.

Gibson grew up in Brooklyn and will receive a Master’s in public policy from Baruch College soon. She and Greene disagree on few issues. Gibson hopes to engage minority groups, Muslims for example. She and Crespo are excited.

“It’s a new day in the Bronx, and there are all kinds of opportunities for young, dedicated people to get involved in the political process, young people like me.”

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