The 43rd District currently has nine candidates running for Vincent Gentile’s City Council seat. Those candidates include four Republicans and five Democrats vying to represent Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach.
We’re reaching out to all nine candidates for a Q & A to help neighbors get to know who will be on their ballot for city elections in September.
Want to see how all the Republican candidates stack up? Check out highlights from their debate here.
Read our discussion with Liam McCabe below, and stay tuned for more conversations with your candidates.
Who is Liam McCabe?
McCabe was born and raised in Bay Ridge and now wants to give back to his community by running to represent the district where he spent his life. And as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic city, he doesn’t shy away from a challenge.
“I’ve overcome odds my entire life,” said McCabe. “I may be a political underdog in this race, but the people of this district and Brooklyn have a history of rewarding people that fight the hardest.”
McCabe, who was endorsed by the Brooklyn Tea Party, was a former aide to U.S. Congressman Dan Donovan. But he also created a political consulting and marketing firm called Steeplechase Strategies, or as he calls it, his “baby.” It’s a company he recently sold in order to focus entirely on his run for City Council.
“Our company was the best at getting local Republicans elected to office in the city of New York,” McCabe said. “Because I started a successful business in Brooklyn, I know about entrepreneurship and the challenges and opportunities that come with it, including the unfair and unnecessary financial and regulatory roadblocks that many small business owners face.”
McCabe is also the founder of the Willie McCabe Memorial Run, inspired by his late father who was a homeless veteran. The event, which takes place in Owl’s Head Park, is celebrating its third year this Fall. The money raised at the run goes entirely to charities assisting veterans.
“I am running for City Council because my neighborhood raised me up when I was down,” McCabe said. “I believe what our district needs more than anything is someone who will not be shy and who will fight for us to get our fair share.”
McCabe has addressed issues such as trash pick-up, school overcrowding, potholes, Hurricane Sandy relief, flooded houses, finding housing solutions for homeless veterans, addressing illegal home conversions.
Illegal home conversions have lead to multiple deaths in District 43. Just recently, the Assembly passed a bill that would alert tenants if they’re about to rent an illegally converted apartment — before they sign the lease.
But if elected, McCabe wants to prioritize ending illegal home conversions with a ‘zero tolerance policy,’ he said.
“I will push government agencies to look closely at tax records so that landlords of illegally converted buildings who are evading taxes by lying about the number of tenants and income are prosecuted and operations are shut down,” McCabe said. He also plans on joining forces with the FDNY, Department of Sanitation, Department of Buildings, and local activists to “make our district the gold standard for cracking down on these types of crimes.”
Holding the MTA accountable
The MTA has been taking a lot of heat lately, from straphangers on twitter and politicians alike.
And McCabe wants to address the issues head-on.
“As a City Council Member, I will hold the MTA accountable for insufficient, inadequate service and price gouging,” McCabe said.
“The MTA is out of control because it has no accountability. We can bring accountability by making MTA board positions elected, not appointed.”
McCabe, a father of two sons, believes that all children, “must have the right to access the best possible education for their children, from Universal Pre-K through High school.”
“Our future is only as strong as our children and the schools that prepare them,” McCabe said, “so I aim to give all parents and all children access to what they need to succeed in school, protect our schools, work to channel appropriate resources to all district schools, streamline the delivery of support services to schools and ensure accessibility for students with special needs.” McCabe has publicly called for raising the cap on charter schools.
Building relationships with local precincts
McCabe believes that crime prevention starts with building strong relationships between the community and the police.”I have great respect for the NYPD and will not handcuff the very people who are trying to keep us safe, which has become one of the hallmarks of the current Mayor’s administration,” McCabe said.
In addition, McCabe wants to introduce youth and addiction prevention and recovery programs in order to help prevent drug abuse.
“I will support local precincts and community policing, bring resources to our neighborhoods that keep our streets, parks, and subways safe.”
How he stands out from the crowd
“If you put my opponents and me in a room and had us discuss the issues that matter most to us, we would probably agree on most of the local issues,” he said.
So how is McCabe different? He believes it’s his approach — the ability to cut through the red tape and bureaucratic processes. According to McCabe, he is a problem solver, and that’s the kind of quality a Council Member needs to have.
“When the Bay Ridge Ave R train station shut down with little notice to the people who ride the R train every day, I personally drove people to the next station at 59th Street,” he said. “I went back and forth between Bay Ridge Ave and 59th Street for hours and got to really know the frustrations my neighbors were having with the MTA.”
Brooklyn and the ‘American Dream’
McCabe believes he is living the American Dream right now. When we asked him what he meant, he had a simple, yet strong, answer:
“If the son of a homeless veteran can overcome his own obstacles and realize the dreams of his father, then I couldn’t imagine a better definition of the American Dream. ”
“Being a Brooklynite means that you’re tough, resilient, and passionate. We bring that toughness and passion into everything we do. It’s deeply rooted in our culture,” McCabe said.
And he wasn’t done.
“Being a Brooklynite means you grow up with Irish, Italian, Black, and Puerto Rican kids on your block, right across the street from Palestinian and Chinese kids, around the corner from Korean and Egyptian kids and down the block from Mexican and Russian kids. And they were all your boys. Brooklyn is strength in unity. Brooklyn is hard work that pays off.”
And for him, “Brooklyn is the center of the world.”
Learn more about Liam McCabe and his campaign for City Council here.