Rainier Harris

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Brooklyn council member Rafael L. Espinal Jr., whose district covers the communities of Cypress, Hills, City Line, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York, and Bushwick announced his candidacy for the 2021 Brooklyn Borough President race in a fundraising email to his supporters. 

Espinal told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle he would make the subway system, the environment, affordable housing, and other livability issues the center of his campaign. 

In regards to the subway system, Espinal told the Eagle he would work to “fix the R train and hold the MTA accountable in expanding service to [Brooklyn’s] transit deserts.” 

For affordable housing, Espinal also told the Eagle he would use the capital budget of the borough president to build affordable housing. Espinal is seeking $250,000 by January in order to compete. 

As a council member, Espinal chairs the City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, where he has overseen the implementation of NYC’ Paid Sick Leave Law and passed consumer protections for marginalized groups. 

Recently, Espinal sponsored legislation to abolish the outdated cabaret law, create the Office of Nightlife, and has called on the MTA to use zero-emission electric vehicles. Espinal has worked with the current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to create a citywide urban agriculture plan. 

Espinal joins the race with fellow councilmembers Robert Corgeny, Antonio Reynoso and Crown Heights-based, formerly incarcerated bishop Lamor Whitehead.