Gonzalo Duran has lived many lives — a marine, a producer-slash-writer, a Nasdaq opener and a community programmer — but this year, he has a new focus: running for City Council District 17.
A South Bronx seat, District 17 is currently represented by Longwood Democrat Rafael Salamanca Jr., who currently serves as Land Use Committee chair and is in his second term on council.
Joining council chambers in 2016, Salamanca, who identifies as a progressive, won the seat via special election following the resignation of Maria del Carmen Arroyo in 2015. Salamanca secured his first full term in 2017, winning that primary with 72% of the vote and followed that by capturing 92% in that year’s general election.
In 2021, Salamanca won a second term, winning reelection with 80% of the vote in a district that includes East Tremont, Hunts Point, Morrisania and Port Morris, among other neighborhoods.
What prompted Duran, a Democrat, to challenge Salamanca in his second go-round in politics — he unsuccessfully challenged then seat holder Ritchie Torres for District 15 in 2017 — is a sentiment that city electeds often doesn’t invest enough resources or energy into hyperlocal programs.