Mark Treyger wins big in 47th Council District race

On Election Day 2013, Council District 47 welcomed its newest councilmember, Mark Treyger. The 31-year old high school teacher was victorious in a landslide against GOP candidate Andy Sullivan, with Treyger receiving 72 percent of the vote (8,267) compared to Sullivan’s 26.8 percent (3,112).

Over at the United Progressive Democratic Club in Bensonhurst during the big night, Treyger camp’s was optimistic regarding their chances but also cautious. Votes were slow coming in, but they were decisive as they did. At around 10:45 pm, Treyger and company felt comfortable enough to declare victory.

“This was never about me, this was about us,” said Treyger. “To me, public service is a team sport because to get things done you have to work together with people, put egos aside and put people first. I am just so grateful to my family, my friends and my supporters. Seeing their faces happy and smiling lights up my life. This victory is for them.”

Although the night was enjoyed by loved ones and supporters, Treyger was quick to discuss all the work still ahead of both him and the community. The first thing on his agenda remains the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

“People are always saying that Coney Island is back. We’re not back until our families are back and until vital services are restored,” Treyger stressed. “The first priority is to return to a sense of normalcy and safety and to recover from Superstorm Sandy.”

Treyger pointed out that students are still returning to school. “One of the things we’re going to have to do is fight for moneys to help our families rebuild and to repair our antiquated infrastructure really exposed how vulnerable it is,” he said.

Treyger also mentioned the MTA’s “disastrous decision to remove X28 weekend service which affects residents in Bath Beach, Bensonhurst and Sea Gate.” It also hinders small businesses and tourists as well as inconveniencing workers, he said.

As a teacher, fixing the education system and changing the overreliance on standardized testing is vital to Treyger. “We must teach to students’ strengths and abilities not simply to the test,” he contended. “So I’m a big supporter of music, the arts, engineering, the culinary arts and to integrate them into our students’ academic work, not replace it but supplement it.”

Sullivan, a construction worker, was disappointed by the results, but also encouraged by some of the kindness he encountered. “There was great excitement and expectation. (I have) incredible humility at the people’s generosity and kindness,” he told this paper. “Something that touched me were these people with no money that came to me with $10 donations. They’re either older people or retired or unemployed, and for a brief moment I gave them a spark of hope.”

Sullivan also shared his concern with the direction of the city and the political system. “I’m a naturally positive fellow but we have a problem that is inherent with New York City. It’s a major problem that we don’t have enough term limits,” Sullivan stated. “It’s a shame. The entire city area has this GOP hangover. They think to relieve this, all we need is to switch to a polar opposite way of doing things, but it’s going to bring us back to the ‘70s.”

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