THIS NEW JOB FOR ASSEMBLYMAN DARRYL TOWNS, MAY CREATE SOME EXCITEMENT IN A DULL ELECTION YEAR.
Throughout his political career, Assemblyman Darryl Towns (Brooklyn/54AD) has labored under the heavy shadow cast by his amiable congressman-father Ed (Brooklyn/10th congressional district): although it has apparently been more of a help than a hindrance. But now, it looks like that's about to change. Darryl is stepping-out folks. He was recently selected by freshman governor Andrew Cuomo to become the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of New York State's Housing and Community Renewal. This is the agency that oversees finance, development and preservation of housing here. He also automatically becomes CEO of the state's Housing Finance Agency, plus CEO of the State of New York Mortgage Finance Agency: many caps for his shaved head.
On July 21st this year, Darryl Towns will be 50 years old, and you have to consider that the timing for all this couldn't be better. He has represented the 54th AD since 1992. He has survived almost two decades in a seat where there are far more Hispanic residents than that of any other ethnic group. Many say it was due to some skillful political maneuvering attributed to his dad's political ambitions and connections. There is a political column here that maybe Gatemouth will write one day: all part of the fascinating lore of Brooklyn's political fistfights and trench-wars.
It is no secret that Ed wanted Darryl to replace him in Congress. Darryl had other ideas though: he wanted to be Brooklyn's next borough president. Not too many people would remember this, but there was a point in time when Ed Towns was seriously considering a run to become NYC mayor. He never pulled the trigger on that, but maybe one day Darryl would. The only thing is that Darryl appears to not be an overly ambitious guy (politically speaking). He is a low-key kinda politician: not one to hound the spotlight of television cameras and media folks. And yet, as an elected, he is much more serious about issues and public policy than most people know.
So what happens now that Darryl moves up the food chain? Well, immediately his seat opens up; and already there is speculation as to who will replace him in the assembly. Three names have come up already: Council member Martin Erik Dilan jnr. (NYC #37); Guyanese-born political activist Farouk Samaroo; and Manny Burgos- the present Communications Director for Darryl Towns.
Word on the street is that Dilan is reluctant to leave the council since he enjoys his job there, but that his father (state senator Martin Malave Dilan snr. /Brooklyn's 17th SD) sees this as a good opportunity to consolidate power in this area. Of course, the weight of assembly member Vito Lopez- county leader of Brooklyn's democratic party- will influence the eventual selection for Darryl's successor. Look, it is well known that the Dilans have been trying to set up a political-dynasty in this neck of Brooklyn's woods, similar to that of the Towns and the Boyland (Ocean Hill/Brownsville) clans. This is obviously an opportunity to reify their ambitions.
Farouk Samaroo has lived in NYC for the past 21 years. He is an advisor to NYC council member Darlene Mealy, and is also a member of her political club (The Barack Obama Political Club of Central Brooklyn). At 28, he is quite an impressive fellow. His political resume is long. He was once an intern with former congressman Floyd Flake; has worked as a legislative aide with an assemblyman (McLaughlin); has been a consultant to state senator Shirley Huntley; and he serves as co-chair of the Congressional Advisory Board for Caricom Affairs. He is very active in Caribbean-American political circles. His community activism goes way back to his teenage days, and he has peregrinated most boroughs of this city: primarily Queens and Brooklyn.
Samaroo is also an army veteran of the Afghanistan War. Presently, a reserve officer in the army, he is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. Upon this, he is quite active in the Disabled Vets Assoc. A lifelong catholic, he graduated from St. John's University, where he majored in Government. With Ms. Mealy's support, Farouk Samaroo will do well in any election. Darlene is very much underrated in Brooklyn's politics. She is yet to lose a political race and has turned back heavyweights three times already. This should be an interesting race, since Samaroo is filing his committee next week, seeking to jump start a tepid election year.
Many readers of NYC political-blogs know Manny Burgos from the various columns he has written on community issues in this city. This Puerto Rican activist has a long resume in politics but has been reluctant to run for office in the past, preferring to stay in the background as a political-strategist. However, there has been lots of pressure on him lately. He is being encouraged to run to either replace Darryl Towns in the assembly, or Martin Dilan jnr. in the council -should Dilan replace Towns. As of this writing, Burgos has said that he is only now coming around to weighing his options, and he will definitely let me know what he decides to do in the near future.
Of the three names aforementioned, I know Burgos best. He is a close political friend. He is someone who I would love to see in office one day, since he is quite cerebral and politically astute. He is in his forties and has the energy to be a vibrant and productive elected official. He is a member of the community board and heads up the committee on public safety. Samaroo is young and obviously has a future in politics. There is definitely a need for new blood in the assembly and the voters of this district may have an opportunity to start a needed youth wave with his election. Dilan jnr. is already a veteran of Brooklyn's politics, but his performance in office so far has been lackluster at best. I will probably recommend him the least.
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