Cucco to primary Harris for Assembly seat

An unsuccessful candidate for the Assembly seat representing portions of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Coney Island has thrown her hat back into the ring.

Kate Cucco, the former chief of staff to the former assemblymember for the 46th A.D., Alec Brook-Krasny, declared her candidacy for the post on Tuesday, May 17. A Democrat, she will challenge the sitting Democrat, Assemblymember Pamela Harris – who won the seat in a special election last November following Brook-Krasny’s July, 2015 resignation — in the September 13th primary. The winner of the primary will move on to face a Republican challenger in the November 8 general election.

Cucco is basing her candidacy on a call for “transparency, reform and accountability” in state government. In recent weeks, both the former speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, and the former majority leader of the state Senate, Dean Skelos, were sentenced after being convicted of corruption. In total, more than 30 members of the two houses have been convicted of various felonies in the past 10 years.

“I strongly believe that it is government’s responsibility to help create conditions fostering opportunity for all,” Cucco said in a written statement. “But right now our government’s focus is on passing laws which benefit wealthy campaign contributors and big corporations. New York’s priorities need to be supporting working families and growing the middle class. This means increasing funding owed to New York City public schools, enacting small-business friendly legislation to help create jobs and lower their tax burden, and paying prevailing wages and benefits for the creation of affordable housing so the workers building that housing can afford to live there.

“I am confident that with reforms that increase transparency and crack down on a failing campaign finance system, New York’s government will no longer be a laughing stock and can instead become the beacon for fairness and equality that New Yorkers deserve and that is long since overdue,” she concluded.

Harris is a former New York City corrections officer, and the founder of the not-for-profit organization, Coney Island Generation Gap to foster youth mentoring and community leadership. “I welcome anyone who wants to run because everyone has that right,” Harris said of Cucco’s candidacy. “I stand by my record in unifying and working with my diverse community, and I will continue to work hard.”

Additional reporting contributed by Meaghan McGoldrick

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