The primary elections for the New York City Council are around the corner. On June 22, voters throughout the five boroughs will cast their ballots to help decide who will represent their respective districts. 

The race to represent District 37, which spans across the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills, Ocean Hill-Brownsville and Brownsville, is jam-packed.

Here are the candidates.

The city’s 37th district encapsulates the heart of Bushwick. (Google Maps)

Darma Diaz

When Councilman Rafael Espinal suddenly resigned last year, he immediately endorsed a local Democratic Party official named Darma Diaz to take his spot and she’s held the office since January. There, she chairs the council’s Committee on Women and Gender Equity and, so far, she’s voted in support of a proposal to expand the number of street vendors in the city as well as a bill that made last year’s open streets program permanent. 

“I am a proud daughter of Puerto Rican parents and I grew up right here in Brooklyn.  I’ve worked in social services and as a public servant for over 20 years, and have been showing up for my community for my whole life. COVID has had a devastating impact on our community. We’ve all been hurt by this pandemic, and we need to heal and rebuild. As your council member I will fight to make sure that our COVID recovery efforts are just and equitable. I’m also fighting to build more affordable housing and protect tenants, to create jobs, and invest in local businesses. I will work to get kids back to school in person. I will stand up for our seniors and make sure that they get the assistance from the government they deserve, so that they and their families can live with dignity,” Diaz told us for this guide.

Check out her platform here.

Sandy Nurse

Sandy Nurse is among the cast of candidates who ran in the race last year and has angled hardest for the neighborhood’s progressive vote. This time around, she’s been endorsed by the Sunrise Movement and also wrote an op-ed for us earlier this year on her work organizing local groups like the Mayday Space and BK ROT.

“I am running for city council because my community is facing multiple crises and we need a representative that will fight for the solutions we so desperately need.

“We face a housing crisis, the displacement of long term families, steep inequities in our public education system, a receding economy, and a lack of investment in public safety. We need proactive leadership in city hall. I participated in local governing bodies like Community Board 4 to support the fight against gentrification. Every step of the way I have been with and for you. Our platform was built by people in this community in an inclusive, transparent process never before done in this district. My commitment to you is to fight to guarantee: housing for every New Yorker, high quality education for every child, affordable childcare for families, real public safety, and a green jobs and infrastructure plan for our city to thrive despite climate change,” she told us for this guide.

Check out her platform here

Rick Echevarria

Image courtesy of Echevarria’s Instagram

Like Nurse, Rick Echevarria ran for the seat last year. Before that, Echevarria worked for the Department of Housing Preservation, until he was, allegedly, fired from the office for complaining about corruption in the city’s tenant-selection process for subsidized apartments. 

For this guide, Echevarria started with that very legacy: “I began this campaign running on an anti-housing corruption message. I am running for our seniors who make up a vast majority of this district and are constantly neglected and poorly housed. I am running for the longtime residents that are displaced and have to watch new housing being built while their housing needs are ignored. I am running to protect our immigrant businesses from displacement and gentrification, and I am running to compel the city of New York to invest in certified Black and Latino owned businesses that continue to be excluded in contracting with the city of New York. Across the board, the residents of District 37 have been fed up with dysfunctional and neglectful city government and administration that seems intent on denying Black, Latino and working-class families their right to efficient and corruption-free government services. I will be that representative for the people of District 37 who will hold our city’s government accountable to the voters and fulfill those promises made to keep this district home for everyone.”

Check out his platform here.

Chris Durosinmi

Image courtesy of Durosinmi’s Instagram

Durosinmi is the race’s newcomer and previously worked as vice president of the Glenmore Tenants Association, a tenants group at a NYCHA development in Brownsville. 

Durosinmi told us: “I am running to ensure the 37th Council district receives all the resources and benefits the city has to offer. Communities like mine and countless others throughout the city have been hit hardest throughout this pandemic. 

“I offer a proven track record of results for the community and bold, innovative solutions to move District 37 and our city forward,” he added. “I have been successful throughout my career in building coalitions and creating solutions to issues regardless of differences of opinion, background or circumstance — both in the district and throughout the city. From landmark initiatives like the push to eliminate plastic straws, Pre-K for All and NYC Men Teach, my policies and efforts have been aimed at improving our quality of life. I plan on leveraging my extensive 16 year experience in public service and progressive ideas to move the entire district forward, specifically in the areas of affordable housing, education and workforce development.”

Check out his platform here.

Misba Abdin

Misba Abdin

Abdin is a face that will be somewhat familiar to local political observers if not voters — he fought diligently to get on last year’s Democratic Party ballot but also didn’t succeed. This year, the East New York businessman — he owns an adult daycare in Queens called the Deshi Senior Center — will be on the ballot.

His platform includes a commitment to a bill that would require housing projects grant preferences to existing residents in regards to new development projects as well as another proposal to expand the length of time police officers are forced to “spend in the academy,” in lieu of “defunding the police.”

Check out his platform here.

Information about the candidacies of Randolf Ferdinand, Franklin Gonzalez and Heriberto Mateo, who are also listed on the ballot, could not be found.

Top photo credit: Campaign websites/Bushwick Daily

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