And then there were two!
Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo became the second candidate to officially announce a bid to replace term-limited City Councilman Michael Nelson this year, touting her lifetime residency in the neighborhood and her seven-year-long tenure as the Board’s chairperson.
“Because of my work at Community Board 15, I am able to hear the problems that are being faced day after day by our neighbors,” Scavo said during her remarks before the Highway Democratic Club at Mirage Diner (717 Kings Highway) last Thursday. “To solve these problems, no matter where you live, we need leadership, we need a vision and we need a commitment from someone who cares.”
Scavo has served as Community Board 15 chairperson since 2006. As an unpaid volunteer, she has worked full-time hours leading the 50-member advisory body and is a ubiquitous presence at civic meetings, nonprofit events, business ribbon cuttings and powwows of local leadership. She also serves on the 61st Precinct Community Council, the Coney Island Hospital Community Advisory Board and as executive vice president of the Highway Democratic Club.
That experience, she says, gives her insight into community needs and the know-how to get work done on behalf of constituents – work that she’d be more effective at accomplishing as a councilperson than as a boardmember.
The announcement comes a week and a half after 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan announced his run for the same seat. Backed by the powerful Kings County Democratic Party, and bolstered by his high profile as a radio host and activist for the Russian-American community, Kagan is expected to draw a large percent of the Russian-American vote – which comprises the single largest voting block in the district.
But that lack of support from the political establishment – her announcement wasn’t attended by a single legislator, though she does have support from Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and the Highway Democratic Club – is actually a sign of her independent character, she said.
“Look around. Here we have tonight residents, neighbors, standing side by side. I am not a political opportunist. I stand alone tonight. My allegiance will be to no one except the voter,” she said.
She also noted that her candidacy crosses cultural lines, saying that her deep knowledge of potholes and police problems speaks far louder than ethnic divisions.
“We live in a very diverse community,” she said. “Yet, with so many differences, we have learned to live together as one community, neighbor to neighbor, sharing common goals and common problems.”
Scavo first announced a run for the seat in 2008, but withdrew after term limits were extended rather than challenging the incumbent, Nelson.
She is expected to face off against Kagan, attorneys Igor Oberman, Michael Treybich and Natraj Bhushan, and Nelson aide Chaim Deutsch in the primaries. Former State Senator David Storobin, a Republican, has been fundraising for the seat, is widely believed to be a challenger in the special election, but has not yet confirmed a run.
Video provided by the Highway Democratic Club.
CORRECTION (9:57 p.m.): The original version of this article erroneously stated that Storobin has been fundraising. In fact, he has not. We regret the error and offer our apologies to the former State Senator.