A longtime incumbent faces a young challenger for a Bronx Assembly seat in a race that could cause a split in borough politics. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Former executive director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee Ischia Bravo is running for state Assembly in the 78th district, which covers Kingsbridge, Bedford Park, Fordham and Belmont.
"You're going to have an advocate and a fighter in Albany, someone who understands, relates and has worked in this community, both in government and in the district," Bravo said.
If elected, Bravo would be the third Latina elected to the state Assembly.
Last month, she kicked off her campaign with help from radio personality Angie Martinez, a woman who is a first of sorts in her industry.
"I think she's great. I think she comes from a pure place," Martinez said.
But the party Bravo served for seven years isn't supporting her. It's backing the incumbent, Jose Rivera.
There are no hard feelings, though. Bravo just believes her district deserves a change.
"We can't protect incumbency just because," Bravo said. "This isn't an as-of right."
Bravo says what sets her apart from the competition is that she was born and raised in the district. She still lives and works here, and she's affected by the same issues that affect everyone else here."
"I have a GED. I was a single mother. I come from a low-income family. I was one of those kids when growing up, was told, 'You weren't going to make it,'" she said.
Since then, she's graduated college and worked for local leaders, re-started the Bronx Young Dems, and served as chairperson for Community Board 7's Housing and Public Safety committees.
As an Assembly member, Bravo says she'd be an advocate for affordable housing, education and economic development.
"My platform stands on housing primarily because I came from public housing, and we all know the issues that have been, we have issues now," she said. "Education for our kids. Our kids should be speaking well. our kids should be writing well. We need to protect our small business owners."
Bravo says even if she doesn't win on September 13, she hopes her run against a longtime incumbent shows residents of this district that politics doesn't have to be business as usual.