NEW YORK — A longtime political staffer is getting high-profile endorsements in a competitive primary campaign for an open seat in the heart of Manhattan.
Tony Simone is getting the support of veteran Manhattan and Brooklyn Congressman Jerry Nadler, who in a statement called Simone “a true consensus builder.”
“He knows I will work my heart out for every constituent in this district,” Simone said.
Simone has also garnered the support of the assemblyman he wants to replace, Richard Gottfried, who recently decided to retire after serving 52 years in Albany.
The newly redrawn 75th Assembly District includes the Theater District, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, parts of Midtown and a few blocks of the Upper West Side.
Public safety is the number one issue according to Simone, who, if elected, would become the first openly-gay assembly member representing the district.
“The feeling is real, there is a public safety problem right now. That feeling is valid. I think we need to tackle it head-on and we are coming out with a public safety plan,” Simone said.
Another candidate in the race is Layla Law-Gisiko, who, as the Land Use committee chair of Community Board 5, has fought against the controversial Penn Station project that would build 10 skyscrapers around the transit hub.
“I’m all about serving constituents, so I wanna have the strongest, most robust constituent services that this district has ever had, and I really wanna work on the issues the people care about,” Law-Gisiko said.
Also in the race, two members of Community Board 4: Chris LeBrón and Lowell Kern.
LeBrón was born and raised in the district.
“I look at the 75th and I see a myriad of problems. I see housing, transportation, the environment, homelessness and social services as the top priorities for anyone who’s elected into this office,” LeBrón said.
Kern believes solving one issue in the district is the key to improving many others.
“If you have enough affordable housing, it solves a lot of other issues. If you have affordable housing, you’ve got somewhere to get the homeless people off the street and get them the services they need. If you get to do that, and people are not living on the street, you reduce crime,” Kern said.
Also running in this crowded Democratic primary is former Obama White House staffer Harrison Marks.
“I think the main problems in this district are that the rents are too high, I think our streets don’t feel safe enough, I think there’s too many vacant storefronts and I think there’s not enough good-quality jobs,” Marks said.
All these candidates will now try to get on the ballot for the Democratic Primary on June 28.