City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, East New York) one of the rumored candidates eyeing the term-limited Brooklyn Borough President’s office in 2021, told KCP today that he was surprised by City Councilman Antonio Reynoso‘s (D-Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg) recent entrance into the boroughwide seat.
“You know I am very surprised by Reynoso coming into the race. By the most recent conversations we had, he never hinted that he had an interest in the seat,” said Espinal.
Reynoso last week sent out an email to his closest supporters letting them know of his intention to run for the seat. Though not an official announcement, the email was testing the waters as Reynoso plans for the formal announcement on June 18 and a fundraiser shortly thereafter.
Reynoso represents the 34th Council District which borders Espinal’s 37th Council District. The match-up could set up an intense competition for Latino voters in Bushwick.
“Brooklyn is a very diverse borough and there are a lot of different communities and ethnic groups and cultural groups that make up Brooklyn. And I am focused on everyone,” said Espinal.
Reynoso has strong ties to the Los Sures, Southside Latino population in Williamsburg, the organization that gave him his background in community organizing. Reynoso also has an ally in U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez. The two were prominent in the demise of longtime State Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan last year, when he lost to now State Sen. Julia Salazar.
Espinal first entered public service as an aide and later chief of staff to then-City Councilman and now State Assemblyman Erik Martin Dilan, son Martin Malavé Dilan.
Espinal went onto tout his legislative work as a councilman as a mark of his potential boroughwide leadership. Most recently, Espinal has been a strong advocate for environmental issues leading the charge for the city to increase green spaces and community gardens.
“I’ve worked on legislation over my time that has affected every single community, so I am not too concerned about Reynoso’s candidacy,” added Espinal.
On Tuesday, he joined advocates and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to call on the Mayor and City Council to pass legislation requiring the Department of City Planning (DCP) to develop a comprehensive urban agriculture plan that addresses land use policy and other issues to promote the expansion of urban agriculture in the city, including the creation of a Task Force aimed at accomplishing the city’s environmental needs.
DCP would then be required to deliver such a plan to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council by July 1, 2019.
Espinal was also successful in repealing the city’s antiquated cabaret law in late 2017, which also launched NYC’s Office of Nightlife.
Additionally, Espinal most recently ran for public advocate, which eventually went to Jumaane Williams. Espinal finished 7th in the race out of a field of over a dozen candidates.