Steven Saperstein is the Republican candidate vying to represent Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Homecrest, Trump Village, Luna Park, Brightwater Towers, and Midwood. (Check out more conversations with candidates running for open seats in Brooklyn.)
Who is Steven Saperstein?
Saperstein grew up in the very same neighborhoods District 48 represents– Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach. His first language was American Sign Language, needed to communicate with his deaf parents and brother – “It taught me the power of communication and being an advocate and a leader for others,” Saperstein said. It is also why Saperstein is a special needs teacher.
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During Michael Bloomberg’s administration, Saperstein worked to minimize the impact of location shooting on local neighborhoods, residents and small businesses, at the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.
He is also a member of several organizations, including: UJA Federation of NY, Israeli Air Force Center Young Professionals of the East Coast, Brooklyn First Responders for Addiction, and the Brooklyn Hebrew Society for the Deaf.
Why He’s Running For City Council
“I’m running for city council because I want my newborn daughter Rebecca to have the same opportunities my wife and I had when we were growing up,” Saperstein said. “I want her to grow up in a New York where she can ride the subways safely, get a good education, and have a career and family of her own.”
Issues He Hopes To Address
As a teacher, Saperstein says he’s seen schools fail students first hand. That’s why he’s “running to be the councilman who makes schools perform, and gives students the tools they need for 21st century life, in any profession.”
He is also working to with the DOE to get paid maternity leave for working mothers. “The current policy is terrible. In order to get paid for up to six weeks, teachers have to use saved sick days,” Saperstein said. “We must value women in this city and stress the importance that parental presence has on child during those first few months.”
Other problems he hopes to address are:
- Quality of life
- Investing in seniors
“Since declaring for City Council, the homeless crisis has ramped up in my district,” Saperstein said. “This is a big quality of life concern, and one where I will work my butt off to help shift policy.”
On Fixing The MTA
Every City Council candidate that BKLYNER has interviewed, disagrees with the current handling of the MTA. Saperstein is no different.
“By changing the process of how the board itself is selected by giving the city council influence on selecting MTA board members, going line by line through the MTA budget and looking at ways to allocate resources more effectively to go to improved bus and subway service especially in my district,” Saperstein said. “The MTA needs to expand Select Bus Service in my district as several of the bus lines impacted in my district have some of the longest travel times and route destinations in the borough.”
The recent presidential election has plenty of Brooklynites feared for their lives. Saperstein believes we must follow the law.
“We also need to protect our community as we are a country still at war, and we need to emphasize legal immigration,” Saperstein said. “I do believe if you are contributing member of society, there is a place for you here but we should respect the law.”
On Crime, Development, and Gentrification
“All of these issues are compounded by massive spending increases by the De Blasio administration, squeezing out the middle class in my district with property, and water bill tax increases over and over,” Saperstein said. “My district pays far more in taxes than in exchange for the services we get in exchange from the city. Park Slope should not pay less in property taxes than my district.”
“My district wants more cops on the street to keep us safe, better transportation options for a faster commute to Manhattan or elsewhere in the borough, smarter development, and help to our small businesses here who can’t afford the rising rents and massive and burdensome regulations by the mayor and city council,” he said.
On Being a Republican in a predominately Democrat City
According to Saperstein, many Democrats in his district are tired of the “Democratic party quo,” he said.
“I have been going door to door across the entire district where we have met thousands of voters in my district for the past year,” he said. “I believe in grassroots democracy. Residents welcome my candidacy and want someone to stop Mayor De Blasio and his policies.”
On President Trump’s policies
“My district largely voted for Trump due to dissatisfaction with the leftward trend of the Democratic party, and I would add President Trump is quite popular in my district,” Saperstein said. “I am my own person but Trump won here because people wanted to change from the Democratic party status quo.”
ON Running Against an Incumbent
Saperstein is running against the incumbent Democrat Chaim Deutsch.
“Mr. Deutsch has been an ineffective absent member of the district who has largely rubber stamped the policies of the DeBlasio administration,” Saperstein said. “Mr. Deutsch has failed to criticize the city council and De Blasio on almost any issue ranging from taxes, Rikers Island, quality of life, homelessness and the expansion of the city budget I WILL link the 48th district and take advantage of a $1,000,000 community budget incentive.”
“I believe in grassroots democracy and want to make budget decisions clear and accessible,” he continued. “I believe that no one knows the needs of our community better than the people who live here. That’s why I am going to provide our people with transparency into budget decisions because it gives real power to our community and results in better budget decisions.”
On What It Means to be a Brooklynite
“It means resilience, fighting for what you believe in, hard work and never giving up,” Saperstein said. “Brooklyn is in my blood, born and raised here, it has made me the strong person I am today.”
Saperstein was also endorsed by the Brooklyn Republican Party, according to a report by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Does he believe he can win? Yes.
“On November 7th the 48th council district has the opportunity to stop the DeBlasio administration in its tracks and save our city by electing me to city council.”