A political newcomer is aiming to replace four-term Democratic Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, who represents the peculiarly shaped district comprising Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights on one end and Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Seagate on the other, connected basically by the Belt Parkway.
Stamatis Lilikakis, the Republican-Conservative candidate for the post, came up against the veteran legislator at a candidates forum, the Great Bay Ridge Debate, hosted by the Bay Ridge Community Council at Our Lady of Angels, Third Avenue and 73rd Street, on Tuesday, September 23.
Brook-Krasny, for his part, said he was, “Looking to be rehired by the people.” Unlike many of those who serve in Albany, he pointed out, “I have been a full-time assemblyman and I will continue to be a full-time assemblyman,” representing the very different sides of the district.
Lilikakis, a small business owner, bases his candidacy in large part on his belief that current elected officials aren’t treating businesses appropriately. “Are we better off today than we were eight years ago?” he demanded, answering his own question as he contended that “taxes are going through the roof.”
“We have to cut taxes,” Lilikakis contended, also stressing his opposition to the minimum wage (higher wages, he said, would be a product of the “free market”), and telling his listeners, “We have to get rid of the dependency we have on government.” According to Lilikakis, cutting taxes will lead eventually to job creation, which will lead to an increase in the amount of revenue collected. “Then we can hire more firefighters and police,” he said. “We have to be fair to the taxpayer.”
But, Brook-Krasny pointed out that taxes, currently, are “at the same level” as they were in 1968, with property taxes for manufacturers actually down 20 percent. “We are working very hard at it,” he stressed, also noting that, in a district that includes not only large numbers of small business owners but also a large number of government-funded services that provide for neighborhood residents, he must provide for the needs of both groups.
As such, he said, he has tried to “bring funding so the services not only stay open but are successful” as well as “trying very hard to help small businesses and keep them flourishing.
“While we are trying to reduce taxes,” he added, “we have to find a balance between cutting taxes and cutting programs.”