Democrat has his eye on the borough’s last GOP seat

BOROUGHWIDE — City Councilmember Justin Brannan has had a busy week. On Tuesday, he officially endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and on Jan. 30 he told this paper exclusively that he will be endorsing Brandon Patterson in the race for the 64th Assembly District seat, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

“Brandon is going to be a great partner in Albany,” Brannan told this paper. “His heart is in the right place and he understands what makes working people tick. From affordability to quality of life, public safety and property taxes, I know Brandon will fight like hell on the front lines for the things that people on both sides of the bridge truly care about.”

Brannan continued, “And he’s got the experience so he will be ready to serve on day one. That’s what we need and what we deserve — an independent fighter who gets it. I’m proud to support him and will do everything I can to help him win,” added Brannan.

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, the lone Republican lawmaker in Brooklyn, has held the seat for close to 10 years, but is leaving in order to run for the 11th District congressional seat currently held by Max Rose.

The 30-year-old Patterson, a lifelong Staten Islander, has a B.A. in political science from SUNY Albany and an M.A. in public administration from Baruch. He has worked in various levels of government over the years and is currently deputy chief of staff for State Sen. Diane Savino. He also serves as Democratic district leader for the 64th Assembly District and as president of the North Shore Democratic Club.

He grew up as the only child in a hard-working middle-class family and admits that it took his parents by surprise when he said he wanted to run for public office.

“Right after college, I started working for government officials and I loved it. I loved giving back and being able to help people,” Patterson told this paper.

He said that his background has given him the knowledge of how government works and contended that, from day one, he can hit the ground running.

Three areas Patterson would like to focus on are helping small businesses, creating opportunities for families and helping to cut through bureaucratic red tape.

For example, Patterson explained how he would work to cut through red tape that small businesses face prior to opening, to allow them to open more quickly, rather than waiting for eight months to a year to open their doors.

“For a restaurant, I can understand 30 days or 45 days, but how are you supposed to open up your doors and not know when you will actually be able to start serving people as you wait eight months for a liquor license?” he questioned. “It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s a matter of how effective government can be.”

Patterson also said that he believes that being part of the majority in the Assembly would allow him to do more for the community by working closely with Brannan, Rose and State Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

Patterson credits his time with Savino for teaching how to negotiate and prides himself on being a “pragmatic Democrat” who is willing to work with members from both sides of the aisle.

“That’s what I’m about. I’m not going to win with just Democrats. I have to be able to appeal to Republicans and independents as well,” said Patterson. “This is why we need somebody in the majority who understands government and will have a vision from day one.”

Patterson continued, “There is no one else in this race that can walk in from day one and have bills introduced and go into the governor’s office or mayor’s office and say, ‘this is how we’re going to work together.’ I have those contacts already.”

The two Republicans running at this point for the seat are former prosecutor Michael Tannousis, who has been endorsed by Malliotakis, and Marko Kepi, who was a staff member for former State Sen. Marty Golden, who lost his seat to Gounardes in 2018. Patterson will face off against the winner of the June 3 Republican primary in the general election which takes place on Nov. 3.

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