After four years in office, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is running for re-election, citing his desire to preserve his administration's successes and to continue improving the region for residents. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Ruben Diaz Jr. takes pride in being the Bronx's top official.
"It's the best gig in the world to be president of my own hometown, to be president of the boogie down," Diaz Jr. said.
He says the past four years in office have been rewarding and marked by his administration, which has worked hard to change the perception of the borough by focusing on economic development.
"We've concentrated on creating jobs, where corporate America has taken a second look at our borough. We've been able to assist our businesses, our small businesses," Diaz Jr. said.
Some of these accomplishments are illustrated by new developments going on across the borough, such as a 1.2 million square foot mall, which includes a Macy's at Co-Op City that is expected to provide thousands of jobs, an outlet mall planned for the Whitestone Cinema site, the borough's first Marriot Hotel at the Hutchinson Metro Center and the creation of business improvement districts like the one in nearby Westchester Square.
"We're in our first year, and during our first year, we've been able to elevate the image of Westchester Square, which was the primary ideal," said Westchester Square BID Chairman John Bonizio.
Creating affordable living out of the ashes that were once the burning Bronx has also been a Diaz administration focus.
"Over the last four years, we've leveraged over $40 million in capital allocations from my office to create over $700 million of housing, all kinds of housing," Diaz Jr. said.
But Diaz is asking the people of the Bronx to give him another four years to finish what he started, because he says there's still more to be done.
"The Metro-North stations, that's something that we're fighting for, but we're nowhere near the goal line," Diaz Jr. said. "Too many of our kids continue to fail. They're not being prepared to go to college."
Diaz beat a Democratic challenger in the primary election and will go up against Green Party candidate Carl Lundgren in the general election on November 5.