One is a former community activist turned assemblymember. The other is a community activist with hopes of snagging the other’s seat.
The two – first-term Democratic Assembly member Alec Brook-Krasny, who represents the 46th Assembly District, and his Republican challenger, Bob Capano – had the opportunity to present themselves to voters during a recent candidate’s forum in Dyker Heights.
The pair spoke to the crowd who had shown up for the event sponsored by the Bay Ridge Real Estate Board and held at Sirico’s Caterers, 8023 13th Avenue.
Brook-Krasny spent time going over his bona fides. He contended that his life experiences had enabled him to represent the district – which includes Coney Island and Brighton Beach as well as portions of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge.
“The 46th A.D. is extremely diverse,” Brook-Krasny stressed, “not only by the nature of the communities living in the district but also by income and people’s position on the social scale. If it hadn’t been for my experiences in my life, I don’t think I would be an effective representative.”
Brook-Krasny recalled that he had come to the United States, “19 years ago with $90 in my pocket” from the then-Soviet Union. His first job, he told his listeners, was making deliveries. From there, he had built his own business, “an entertainment center for kids that became a community center.
“Then, I became a member of the local community board,” he went on, pointing out that he had been the “first Russian speaker on a community board in the whole of New York City.” He also started a community organization, back in 2001, Brook-Krasny told his listeners. “That gave me the opportunity to learn what community affairs and community organizations are really about, which is an extremely important experience for an elected official.”
His experiences in community service had been compelling, Brook-Krasny added. “I realized this is something I wanted to do in my life, that I wanted to change things.” He ran several times for public office, he went on, before winning the seat in the 46th A.D. in 2006, upon the retirement of then-Assemblymem-ber Adele Cohen.
Since being elected, Brook-Krasny said, he had been able to bring back funding for the community he represents, including $10 million for the Boardwalk, and “help for more than 60 organizations in my district. But, first and foremost, I was able to bring people from different communities, from different parts of my district together so they will understand each other better and I will have a better chance of representing them and the whole 46th A.D.”
Capano, who also had the Conservative and Indepen-dence Party endorsements, cited his experience working for Democratic Borough President Marty Markowitz and Republican Representa-tive Vito Fossella as evidence that he works “across party lines.”
Indeed, he said that, “That is what public service is all about.”
Much of Capano’s efforts have been in the arena of nuts and bolts quality of life issues, he pointed out. “Helping people get veteran’s benefits, helping people get Social Security benefits, traffic lights, potholes – these might not make the headlines but for the person calling the office, I believe, that’s the most important thing,” he told his listeners.
The “most important” issue, Capano attested, is “people’s economic and personal security.” In New York State, he added, “the most important problem facing us is the tax burden today.
“The tax burden in New York State is 56 percent higher than the national average,” Capano went on. “We are at a crossroads. We can either continue taxing and spending or we can make a change. In my mind, I represent that change. You, the people, should keep more of your own tax dollars. Businesses should keep more of their own tax dollars. As the assemblyman, I am going to do that.”
Capano also said he thought it was important to send a Republican to the Assembly from Brooklyn. “In all of Brooklyn, there’s not one Republican elected official in the state Assembly,” he stressed. “I believe checks and balances are a good thing.”