Bay Ridge resident and civic leader Bob Capano was unanimously elected chairperson of the newly formed Kings County Reform Party, part of the larger New York State Reform Party.
This is the latest step in Capano’s long history of political and civic involvement. In the past, he has worked as a senior aide to both Democrat and Republican officials, including former Borough Presidents Marty Markowitz and Howard Golden (both Democrats) and former Congressmembers Bob Turner and Vito Fossella (both Republicans).
He has also made runs for public office, recently seeking the Republican nomination for the then-soon-to-be-vacant City Council seat in the 43rd District representing southwest Brooklyn, before running for the seat (won in November by freshman Councilmember Justin Brannan, a Democrat) on the Reform Party line.
“I think I’m the only guy in Brooklyn who could say that I’ve worked with top Brooklyn Democrats and Republicans,” said Capano. “My record has been working with everybody for the better of the community.”
Capano said he became involved with the Reform Party through his good friend Curtis Sliwa, chair of the New York State Reform Party and founder of the Guardian Angels.
Sliwa, said Capano, thought that his nonpartisan track record would do well within the intra-party democracy platform of the New York State Reform Party.
“[Capano] knows where the political bones are buried and who buried them in Brooklyn. As less and less people participate in the political process, Bob will welcome the disenfranchised into the New York State Reform Party’s tent … Capano will empower Brooklyn voters and be a strong counter-weight to the entrenched party machines,” said Sliwa in a statement.
The biggest issue Capano will focus on is growing the Reform Party in Brooklyn. “We believe that the government should return to the people,” Capano said. This, for the Reform Party, includes imposing term limits on politicians, rallying against special interests and lobbying, and empowering more “citizen legislators” over “career politicians.”
“You can see how very easily people can get sucked into the power dynamics and serve their own self interests,” Capano said of career politicians. He would like to see politicians to come from the private sector, work in public office, and then return to the private sector as a way of checking corruption.
“I think in New York State, we’re the corruption capital of the world,” said Capano.
The Reform Party has had a presence in New York since 2000, and has been recognized as an official political party in the state since 2014. The party has had a few recent victories, including the election of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh on the Reform Party line.