The seven candidates running for the Democratic nomination for an open Park Slope City Council seat spoke at a forum in J.J. Byrne Playground on May 23.
Sitting before the historic Old Stone House, the hopefuls discussed issues pertinent to a diverse district that encompasses parts of Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, and Kensington.
The event was organized by the Park Slope Civil Council in partnership with Community Board 6 and the 5th Avenue Business Improvement District. Proceedings began with comments from the district’s current representative, Councilmember Brad Lander.
“I could not be more optimistic about this set of candidates,” said Lander. “They are working their butts off right now. They have a month to go and it is really hard to be a candidate.”
Lander is currently a candidate for city comptroller in a busy race that pits him against Speaker Corey Johnson and others.
The candidates present at the forum event were Justin Krebs (nonprofit theater owner and political organizer), Mamnun Haq (cab driver, labor organizer, and public health advocate), Briget Rein (teacher, labor organizer, and member of Community Board 6), Shahana Hanif (activist and the current director of Community Engagement for Brad Lander), Brandon West (voting rights activist and City Hall budget staffer), Jessica Simmons (school principal), and Doug Schneider (civil rights attorney and Democratic district leader).
Topics discussed included school reopenings post-pandemic, small business recovery, affordable housing, and the controversial Gowanus rezoning. Lander supports the rezoning and multiple candidates directly addressed their disagreement with the current council member during the event.
This year will mark the first time ranked-choice voting will be used for New York City elections, including for primaries. Voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference. The Park Slope Civic Council shared information about ranked choice voting at the end of Sunday’s event.
The democratic primary is scheduled for June 22.