Candidates Eye Borough President Vacancy
With Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion expected to be named the nation's next Director of Urban Policy, candidates looking to fill the spot are already emerging. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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At 35-years-old, Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. is already a veteran politician with 12 years of experience representing the Bronx in Albany. Now he says he is ready to come back home full time to be Bronx Borough President..
"People understand that my heart is with the Bronx. I want to do better for the Bronx and keep raising my family in the Bronx and also have as many people in the Bronx to be able to do the same," said Diaz Jr.
Councilman Joel Rivera, 30, is also eyeing the seat. He's in his eight year on the Council where he is the majority leader.
"People in the Bronx need to have someone that they can see a track record from. And over the last seven and half years in the Council, I think we have had a great track record," said Rivera.
Both men are well-known in political circles. In fact, they turned heads when first elected at young ages. Diaz was 23 when he took office in 1996, Rivera was 22 when he was elected in 2001.
Lehman College journalism professor Miguel Perez says the men may have to step away from their political roots to get elected.
"Obviously one thing people should look for -- not personality, not what family they come from. What they stand for, what their platform is. What are they going to do for the people of the Bronx," said Perez.
Their families can be seen as assets and liabilities.
Diaz's father, Reverend Ruben Diaz is a state senator and the head of the Hispanic clergy coalition. But the reverend is often seen as a rebel and is an opponent of gay marriage.
Rivera's father, Jose Rivera, and sister Naomi Rivera are both Assembly members. However, recently, the elder Rivera lost his position as Bronx County Chairman in a nasty political battle.
"I don't believe that constant battle and constant struggle is the right way to move forward," said Rivera.
Both men are playing nice for now, but it remains to be seen if there's going to be a rumble over the borough president's seat.
A special election could come within the next two months.