New York State Assemblyman Brian Barnwell recently announced that he does not intend to seek re-election next term.
“It has been a true honor to serve and I will never forget that I owe everything to the kindness of the people who allowed me to serve as their representative,” Barnwell announced on Twitter. “Just like any other job, you deal with various things you do not like and then one thing is the final straw that makes you decide to move on.”
The Queens Ledger recently caught up with Barnwell, whose district includes Maspeth, Middle Villiage, Woodside, Sunnyside, and parts of Elmhurst and Astoria, to help shed some light on his recent decision.
“What it boils down to is that people would rather play politics than solve the real problems we are facing,” Barnwell said in a message. “The recent budget was the final straw for me. We see all the gun problems and innocent people being killed around the city and the country. We need to be strong on that issue.”
Barnwell indicated that one of his biggest efforts as a state legislator was the ability to have illegal possession of a firearm, in its own right, be considered for bail.
“It doesn’t mean that bail would be set, but the Judge should have that option,” Barnwell continued. “It was denied and I found that unacceptable.”
He also expressed his frustration with city agencies, which he said: “do not want to do their job.”
“The number of no heat and no hot water complaints at NYCHA that went ignored time and time again was another truly unacceptable thing,” Barnwell said. “It is just a whole host of various issues with the government. I did my best to solve these problems during my time in the Assembly.”
In regards to plans following his tenure in politics, Barnwell said he doesn’t have any as of right now, except to finish the term.
According to City & State the local Democratic committee selected Steven Raga, executive director of Woodside on the Move and Barnwell’s former chief of staff, to run for open seat. He will square off against Ramon Cando, a Democratic district leader from Elmhurst and business manager of Laborers Local 78.