District 39 is expansive — reaching from Gowanus and Park Slope up to Borough Park and Kensington — and therefore requires a council member with an expansive knowledge of city politics and the widespread needs of constituents. For these reasons, we believe that Brandon West is the right person for the job.
Although he is a first-time candidate, West is anything but a newcomer to the world of politics. For years he worked as a budget staffer at City Hall, a role that gave him an intimate knowledge of the city’s finances and how agencies interact with one another.
West fought for a fairer and more balanced budget from within City Hall, particularly as it pertains to public safety, housing, sanitation, and other quality-of-life services. However, he was frustrated by politicians conducting business as usual, and decided it would be best to finally run himself.
Unlike Brad Lander, the district’s current representative and a candidate for comptroller, West will not ignore constituent services in pursuit of greater notoriety at City Hall.
In an interview with our paper, West demonstrated a clear understanding of how the problems plaguing constituents connect to citywide problems.
In his mind, every missed trash pickup is connected to sanitation cuts, every eviction is connected to the larger crisis of affordable housing, and every controversial rezoning (such as the Gowanus rezoning in District 39) is connected to the city’s broken land-use bureaucracy. When West talks about hot-button topics, it isn’t all fluff.
We were particularly impressed by West’s ideas to protect small businesses, which include fighting for a vacancy tax and commercial rent relief that would help struggling businesses survive under the pressure of COVID-19 and unfair landlords.
West also advocates for an expansion of participatory budgeting, which he hopes will give constituents who have long been ignored by their representatives a better chance at having their voices heard.
We are confident that West will be able to navigate these large issues at City Hall without losing sight of their impact on the many neighborhoods of District 39. He is a measured, thoughtful, and experienced leader who can protect the interests of individuals, families, businesses, and communities.
However, we would be remiss without mentioning some of the other impressive candidates running in District 39.
Shahana Hanif — a native daughter of Kensington and director of Organizing and Community Engagement for Brad Lander — has run a fantastic campaign that has drawn widespread support from young people within the district.
Hanif’s community organizing experience is impressive, and her plans for the district, including the creation of a shelter for Muslim women, are extremely thoughtful and focused. We believe that Hanif has a very bright future in politics and public service, and that she would make a fantastic second choice on the ranked choice ballot.
Nonprofit theater founder Justin Krebs has also run an exciting campaign that focuses on education and arts in the district. Krebs is also notable for receiving a rare endorsement from Ben & Jerry’s, the world famous ice cream company.