Meet the 43rd Council District candidates
BY JESSICA PARKS
The race between sitting
Councilmember Justin Brannan
and his republican opponent
Brian Fox is heating up,
with more mud-slinging than
many of the borough’s other contested
City Council contests.
The district is historically
one of the most GOP-friendly
in Brooklyn, and is the area of
the borough most recently represented
by a Republican. However,
the district has been trending
in the Democratic direction
for the past several years.
Fox argues that Brannan is
a speeding, “do nothing” member
of the political machine,
while the incumbent charges
that his challenger, who once
liked a Trumpian tweet boasting
the need to “Make Bay
Ridge White Again,” is unfi t to
serve his district’s melting pot
of different communities.
The two differ on local issues
such as crime (Fox alleges
that crime has never
been higher in the district,
while Brannan cites 68th Precinct
statistics pointing to the
lowest crime rate in the area’s
history) and vaccine mandates
for local businesses (Brannan
supports, Fox does not).
Brooklyn Paper: Why
are you running?
Justin Brannan: Since
2018, it has been the honor of my
life to serve the neighborhoods
where I grew up. And I hope the
people will put their trust in me
once again. Like you, I have high
hopes for what 2021 will mean
for us, our community, our city,
and our country. I don’t have to
tell you 2020 was an unbelievably
tough and challenging year
for everyone. We all put our normal
lives on hold, and everyone
has sacrifi ced so much. I’m not
going to lie, when I decided to
run for offi ce, I never thought
I would be governing during a
global pandemic but it showed
me that when times get tough,
leadership doesn’t mean having
all the answers: it means communicating
COURIER L 10 IFE, OCTOBER 22-28, 2021
as clearly and as
often as possible; and addressing
every problem seriously,
no matter how big or small. It
means reaching out, and being
there, all the time, for the people
who put their faith and trust in
me to serve.
Brian Fox: The dramatic
uptick in crime is ultimately
what made me run. The crime
wave we are suffering is selfinfl
icted — bad policy choices
like defunding the police, eliminating
cash bail, and ending
Broken Window policing
brought it on. The City Council
needs members who put common
sense over ideology, and
that’s what I’m all about. When
crime skyrockets, New York
spirals. Trash and graffi ti proliferate,
quality of life diminishes
as fear grips streets and
playgrounds, and an overall
sense of lawlessness pervades.
We don’t have to live this way.
I’m also running to fi ght
for my neighbors who deserve
their fair share of funding from
City Hall for schools, senior
centers, playgrounds, trains
and buses, trash removal, etc.
I’ve got a very loud voice and I
intend to use it at City Hall. I’ll
also work to bring no-kill animal
shelters to the city.
BP: Tell us about yourself,
and your relationship
to the district.
JB: My mom still lives in
the apartment where I grew
up in Bay Ridge. Took my
fi rst steps on Shore Road cobblestones.
I went to PS 185,
McKinley and Xaverian. I got
my start in politics working
for Councilman Gentile and
serving on Community Board
10 before that. Being an elected
offi cial during COVID-19 has
taught me a lot. I saw clearly
how many of our neighbors
are just one missed paycheck
away from losing their home.
I saw clearly how inextricably
bound we are to one another’s
health and safety. Rebuilding
after this pandemic is going
to be a heavy lift, but I have
never been more ready. Now
more than ever, we need people
in offi ce who will fi ght like
hell for our collective future. I
am honored to serve the hardworking
people of Bay Ridge,
Dyker Heights, Bath Beach,
and Bensonhurst every single
day. New York City isn’t going
anywhere, and neither am I.
BF: I’m a small business
owner who lives and works in
Bay Ridge. My family was in
the restaurant business historically
— diners mostly —
and my father became a CPA.
After college, I served as a fi -
nancial advisor, and I now run
a staffi ng agency, fi nding people
jobs for a living. My fi rm
does work in both the US and
Canada. I never thought I’d be
running for offi ce, but crime
compelled me to step forward.
This interview has been edited
for brevity. For more from
each candidate on issues like
crime,small business recovery,
vaccines and more, visit BrooklynPaper.
Councilmember Justin Brannan will face off against Republican Brian Fox
(right) in the general election on Nov. 2. Courtesy of campaigns
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