Thursday, December 25, 2014

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NY1 News celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 with this week-long series of reports.

Hispanic Heritage Week 2013: Latino Council Hopefuls Want Fresh Approach To Challenges Ahead

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Two young Latinos who won the Democratic primary in their respective Brooklyn districts will likely be among the fresh faces in a new City Council. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

Sunset Park is a predominantly Latino neighborhood with Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and more recently a growing Mexican population. Now the first Mexican-American, Carlos Menchaca, is poised to head to the City Council to represent the 38th District which stretches from Sunset Park to Red Hook.

"It's a big moment for Mexican Americans in this city who have been here working very very hard as immigrants, entrepreneurs but also now we're going to be in the political spectrum," Menchaca said.

Menchaca will also be the first openly gay member of the Brooklyn delegation. After winning a tough primary, the 33-year-old is expected to prevail in November's general election. He says once in office, he'll address issues of overcrowded schools and funding.

"To make sure we have changes in the rules in the way that we distribute funding. and power to communities like ours who don't have a lot of voice in the City Council historically," Menchaca said.

Over in Williamsburg, Antonio Reynoso won a contentious democratic primary in the 34th District and is the favorite to win in November. The Dominican-American recently turned 30.

"The Latino community is entrusting the future of their people to the youth. And I think it's a testament to how much the Latino community has grown and proud they are of the work they've done," Reynoso said.

Housing is a top priority for Reynoso, who is personally affected by the rising rents.

"I was born and raised in the district. I currently live with my sister. Gentrification has been a big issue and displacement has been really high," Reynoso said.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez campaigned for both Reynoso and Menchaca. She says they're part of a new wave of progressive politics in the city.

"They're not going to be a rubber stamp. They're not going to be a figure head. When it comes to the legislative process of the City Council when it comes to real issues," Velazquez said.

While Menchaca and Reynoso have their district agendas ready to go, one of their first orders of business come the new year is to help pick a City Council speaker. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP