Ischia Bravo, the district manager for Community Board 7 and a former political candidate, will become the first woman, and therefore the first Latina, to serve as Bronx County clerk in January.
The position is a lifetime appointment. In the role, Bravo, 38, will clerk the county’s Supreme Court Civil Branch and work as the commissioner of jurors for the county’s Supreme Court’s civil and criminal branches.
A born and raised Bronxite, Bravo grew up in Kingsbridge and went to Hostos Community College and John Jay College. She has worked as the CB7 district manager since 2018 and also held roles working for both state Senator José Serrano and former U.S. Rep. José Serrano. From 2008-2015, she was the executive director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee. All in all, she has worked in public service for more than 15 years, according to the court.
“This is just yet another opportunity, in another capacity, to continue to serve the Bronx,” Bravo said in an interview with the Bronx Times. “I mean, in a nutshell, I love this borough and I fight for it every day as a district manager and I will continue to do so, just in a different capacity.”
Making sure Bronx residents receive quality services is personal to Bravo, as someone who grew up in public housing where residents are often forgotten about, she said. And to Bravo, the opportunity to help form a diverse jury pool by encouraging Bronx residents to participate is a form of criminal justice reform.
“Destigmatizing that part of public service to Bronxites would be another opportunity for me to create awareness around public service,” she said. “We all talk about registering to vote, right, and how important that is, because we have a voice. But this is yet another opportunity to exercise our voice and I think that that’s important.”
Bravo in 2016 unsuccessfully challenged the longtime incumbent Assemblymember José Rivera to represent the 78th Assembly District in the Democratic primaries.
In 2021, she was the runner up behind now-Councilmember Oswald Feliz to represent City Council District 15 in a March special election and June Democratic primary.
In a state Senate primary race this August, Bravo threw support behind Miguelina Camilo, a moderate and the former president of the Bronx Women’s Bar Association who unsuccessfully challenged the Progressive incumbent state Sen. Gustavo Rivera even with the support of the Bronx Democratic Party.
Following state Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez’s Democratic primary win for the east Bronx’s state Senate District 34, the Bronx Times learned that Bravo was floated as an option to replace Fernandez as the Democratic nominee for her Assembly seat. But John Zaccaro Jr., chief of staff to New York City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr., was ultimately nominated.
As for the path Bravo ended up on instead, she was chosen as the most qualified among almost 300 applicants, according to the court.
“I would be remiss if I failed to note the historic nature of this appointment, as Ms.Bravo will be the first woman, and first Latina, to serve as Bronx County Clerk,” Rolando Acosta, presiding justice of the state Supreme Court, Appellate Division, said in a statement in a court press release. “I am hopeful that insofar as her appointment will contribute to our ‘gorgeous mosaic,’ as former Mayor David Dinkins put it, even more residents of the Bronx will see themselves reflected in their public servants. The Court is confident that Ms. Bravo will serve honorably in her new role, will improve operations in the Bronx County Clerk’s Office and Supreme Court, and will make the people of Bronx County proud.”
Bravo will replace Luis Diaz, a former 86th District assemblymember who worked as the Bronx County clerk since 2009 and was suspended without pay in October 2020 before officially resigning from the position in July after pleading guilty to defrauding the court to support an alleged associate of the Genovese crime family.
Kevin Rothermel, a former administrator in the Queens County Clerk office, has worked as the Bronx’s acting clerk for the past two years.
Bravo will begin the post on Jan. 2, and as of Friday, she does not know when her final day as district manager will be.