Longtime United Federation of Teachers (UFT) activist Briget Rein is has jumped in the 2021 city council election ring in running for term-limited City Councilman Brad Lander‘s (D – Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington).
Lander’s predecessor, Bill de Blasio, is now mayor in what is one of Brooklyn’s most politically active and progressive neighborhoods.
Rein, a Carroll Gardens resident, actually filed back in August of last year and has currently raised over $50,000, with over $20,000 on hand as per the last filing.
Rein was raised in Midwood, went to local public schools and universities and has been living in Carroll Gardens for 18 years. Her mother worked with Mayor Abe Beam and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on education issues, which gave Rein a “taste of politics”.
She became a teacher at PS109 in Flatbush and active in the politics of the UFT due to her school lacking a chapter leader. That led to her eventually working for and becoming an activist at the union.
“With that activism, I got involved in campaigns,” said Rein.
Randi Weingarten, the former UFT President and current head of the American Federation of Teachers, hired Rein to be the Deputy Political Director after which she transitioned to become the union’s city hall liaison, a job she presently holds.
“Two years ago, I decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to continue my work in City Hall and run for City Council,” said Rein. “I believe that my community is extremely important. I thank Bill de Blasio and Brad Lander for their service. Both of them did a superb job, and I want to continue doing that job.”
As a teacher and UFT representative, education is an issue close to Rein. She supports the School Diversity Accountability Act, a package of education-related regulations that Lander sponsored to promote diversity in schools and UFT initiatives such as the Positive Learning Collaborative as well as building new schools in local school districts.
Rein said she also hopes to protect the Gowanus area in the face of new development. “That area is trying to enhance for families to move in. And what we need to do is make sure that the air is clean from toxicity from the water and that the water is not mixing in with our drinking water.”
As of now, New Kings Democrats President Brandon West is the only candidate who has also officially declared his candidacy in the race.
Other previously rumored candidates include District Leader of the 44th Assembly District Doug Schneider, District Leader of the 52nd Assembly District Josh Skaller, Brooklyn College History Professor Jason Reischel and First Lady Chirlane McCray.
“Everybody should run. Everybody needs to have their voice heard,” said Rein. “I know exactly that I feel that I can do best for my community. I am not focused on them, I am not focused on who is running. I’m focused on how I run my race and making sure that I touch every member of my community. That is the key, because my community is the most important thing. Other people, let them run.”