The race for the 46th Assembly District seat is coming into focus.
Democrat Pam Harris and Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter appear poised to face-off in a November special election to fill the seat vacated by the surprise resignation of Alec Brook-Krasny on July 7.
Political insiders tell this paper that Harris and Regina-Potter are likely to be nominated by their respective parties in mid-September, when the parties’ county committees formalize their decisions.
Harris, a retired corrections officer, is the executive director of the Coney Island Generation Gap, a community outreach organization that offers media and arts programs for kids and teenagers, and helps organize activities around Coney Island. She said her background in community activism makes her an ideal candidate for the position.
“The platform here in our community has to change,” Harris said. “We need someone like myself who is community-minded.”
Regina-Potter is no stranger to local politics. The Republican District Leader has been a candidate or primary candidate five times in the last nine years, running in the 46th and 49th Assembly Districts. She said she has received enthusiastic support from locals about running for the seat again.
“People tell me I’m the best person for the job,” she said.
Craig Eaton, head of the county’s Republican party, said Regina-Potter’s repeated runs give her an advantage.
“Out of all the candidates that have come to us, she has the most name recognition,” said Eaton. “In a short race like this, that is going to be most important.”
Brook-Krasny vacated his seat to pursue a position in the private sector. Harris said she was very fond of the four-term assemblyman, but she was bothered by the way he left his community “high and dry.”
A Coney Island homeowner whose house was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Harris said she related to the issues faced by homeowners in other parts of the district, which spans Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Coney Island.
“I know the plights faced by people in Bay Ridge who own homes,” said Harris. “I know what it’s like to deal with trash. I dealt with Hurricane Sandy. I was out there. We need someone in the Assembly who is going to stand by all of those issues.”
Regina-Potter said she wants to deal with issues such as the rise in crime across the district, illegal home conversions, and problems with public transportation.
“It’s all about funding, needing to know where that funding is going, and knowing how it will be spent,” she said.
The district’s Russian community was dismayed when the Russian-Jewish Brook-Krasny, the first Soviet-born member of the Assembly, stepped down. But Regina-Potter said she hopes the Russian community will embrace her, since she comes from a family of immigrants as well.
“I can relate to the Russian community,” she said. “They have struggled and sacrificed, which compelled them to come to America. They love America and came here, just as my family did, to purse the American dream and have a better life.”