Shuffling between work and a speaking engagement, Democratic Congressional Candidate Radhakrishna Mohan sat down with Kings County Politics to remind the Brooklyn side of the district that he has thrown his hat into the crowded race to unseat U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island).
“I have been running in the Democratic circles, most of them know I am running,” said Mohan.
While the Indian-American candidate registered as early as late October, Mohan officially kicked off his election Monday night to a crowd of nearly 60 people at a Buddhist Temple in Staten Island.
The candidate comes with an extensive background in union leadership, an advantage in wanting to represent a region densely populated with civil service union members including police officers, firefighters and sanitation employees.
Mohan currently serves as an executive board member on the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF). The candidate said he has worked tirelessly to ensure employees understand their rights under the state’s worker’s compensation laws. The candidate said he would like to sponsor federal legislation that promotes healthy workers compensation.
“Right now, New York, Texas and California are strict on enforcement, but many other states are not, said Mohan. “That’s a universal measure I can contribute to nationally.”
Deeply rooted in the Staten Island community, Mohan began his tenure as a public servant in 2004 when his Manor Heights neighborhood was bombarded with rounds of vandalism. The father of two responded as a volunteer serving as a liaison between police and youth to improve quality of life issues.
“I ended up volunteering for my local police department’s community council,” said Mohan. “I managed to secure discretionary funding for the 121 and 122 precincts on Staten Island.”
More than a decade later, the precincts continue to receive funding for activities that benefit the area’s youth.
His call to service inspired the candidate to join Community Board 1 where he currently serves on the Public Service and the Silver Lake Park Committees. The candidate is also vice president of two Democratic clubs –– the South Shore Democratic Club and the Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA).
Much like the city’s willingness to contribute a better quality of life, Mohan believes the federal government should increase funding to combat the opioid crisis. He noted the lack of facilities to address the issue, but is against the city’s most recent decision to open self-injecting clinics.
In a response to questions about his commitment to women’s issues, considering the all-male candidacy pool, Mohan said he would be a voice for women. The candidate described his most recent initiative to ensure female state employees receive equal time for medical screening, a measure the Senate is now considering as New York State legislation.
“I am a big supporter of women’s issues,” said Mohan. “That is why I drafted the memo. It didn’t make sense that men were getting an additional four hours of screening time.”
To date, all men who work for New York state are allowed eight hours of medical testing while women are only allowed four. The candidate said he worked alongside the PEF’s Women Caucus to bring to light the issue.
The shuttering of the exterior gates and the roar of the commercial-sized vacuum signaled it was time to move onto the second part of the interview. This time Mohan would introduce himself to members at the Bay Democrat’s monthly meeting in Sheepshead Bay.
Mohan presented himself to a room of 50 onlookers, including two of his Democratic competitors, and Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D – Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood)
When Bay Democrats Club President Ari Kagan asked Mohan how he intends to help lower the cost of increasingly rising prescription drugs, Mohan responded with a two-part solution.
“People are going to Canada to get better prices, said Mohan. “The way to address this is to give more licenses and allow other countries to come and compete here. Secondly, we need to address the special interests.”
Mohan said his experience as a labor union executive makes him specifically qualified to address special interest groups. He touted his union contacts as his biggest advantage to make topics a national issue.
“If any special interest is doing anything to increase drug prices, we will keep fire under their feet.”
Mohan said he is looking to set up shop on Bay Street in Staten Island and in Bay Ridge on the Brooklyn side of the district.