A longtime community activist and political aide is making a bid for public office.
Bob Capano, a Republican who has run Representative Vito Fossella’s Bay Ridge office since 2005, will challenge incumbent Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, a Democrat who won the seat in the 46th Assembly District in 2006. Brook-Krasny succeeded Adele Cohen, who she retired 18 months ago.
Capano, who cut his political teeth working for two Democrats – former Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden and the borough’s current head honcho, Marty Markowitz – said that the seat, which encompasses not only Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, but portions of Bensonhurst, and Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Seagate, was, “Absolutely going to be a hard seat to win.”
However, he contended, as someone who has worked on both sides of the aisle, that he is well positioned to make the run for the GOP. “It will enable me to be an effective member of the Assembly,” Capano said. “I feel uniquely qualified to reach across the political spectrum.”
His experience, Capano said, isn’t limited to Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, which make up approximately one-third of the district. When he was community liaison for Golden, he added, he “regularly worked with the Coney Island community and Community Board 13.”
Why is he running? Said Capano, “I think the people of the district deserve strong leadership in the Assembly, someone who will always put their best interests first. I will fight to reduce taxes on hard-working families and eliminate wasteful government spending.”
In addition, Capano said, “I will continue to battle to get an emergency room at Victory Memorial Hospital. Alec Brook-Krasny, I believe, didn’t do enough to keep the ER open.
“I will never forget where I came from or the people who elected me,” added Capano, who already has the endorsement of the Brooklyn GOP and Conservative Party. “I will never sit by idly as Democratic leaders close our hospitals, try to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, or attempt to give early parole to murderers.”
Capano said he is running on his “extensive record of community service.” He has served as president of the 68th Precinct Youth Council, and was president of the Brooklyn Young Republicans, an organization which he now chairs.
“For the past 10 years,” Capano added, “I’ve been involved in virtually every single issue affecting the community.”
However, Brook-Krasny – the first of the new breed of Russian-Americans to win elective office in New York – said that his candidacy wasn’t based on his history-making run in 2006. “It’s not about history,” he stressed. “It’s really about the people in the district. I certainly hope I’m serving them effectively.
“To have a challenge is not a bad thing,” Brook-Krasny went on. “It is going to be another challenge to convince people with multigenerational roots in the community that they will be happy with me as their representative, a person who was born on the other side of the globe. I hope I am able to confirm that I’m an effective representative for them.”
Brook-Krasny said that, contrary to Capano’s assertions, he had tried hard to get the state to agree to keep emergency room facilities at Victory. “It was hard because the people in charge who I was talking to said there was a history of mismanagement there,” Brook-Krasny recalled.
“I am still trying,” he went on. “I think it’s extremely important to have emergency care there. It’s not a matter of keeping management in place. It’s a matter of getting emergency care in there that would be self-sustaining as a business entity. It’s a community hospital and we need it very much.”
Brook-Krasny pointed out that, in 18 months, he had worked to reach out across his district. “I am very proud that I am able to operate an office in Bay Ridge,” he noted. “I have a desk in (City Councilmember) Vincent Gentile’s office, which gives me the opportunity to be constantly in touch with the people, which is the most important thing for an elected official.”
In addition, he said, “Many people in the district know my cell phone number. They know they can call me at any time. That’s my style. It’s the best way for an elected official to represent residents’ needs, ideas and voices.”
Among his priorities, Brook-Krasny added, is “helping small business.” In addition, he said he had been, “Very active in the areas of affordable housing and education, after-school programs, youth organizations, seniors.
“I think the priority for government should be to support those who can’t support themselves and to respond to the needs of working families,” he went on. “That’s why I’m a Democrat and proud of it. At the same time, it’s important to have balance and be open-minded and appreciate the free market.”
Finally, Brook-Krasny said that he has an abiding respect for the democracy that is nurtured in this country. “For 30 years,” he recalled, “I lived in a different environment, a totalitarian country where everyone was very suppressed. I’m very grateful to this country.”