Chris Banks, who founded the antipoverty group East New York United Concerned Citizens, Inc., announced intentions to run against Assemblywoman Inez Barron in front of a Brooklyn barber shop Saturday morning. “We have longed for leadership that respects your opinion. We have longed for leadership that is accountable,” Mr. Banks said to the cheers from the relatively sizable crowd. “We need new leadership in this community.”
One of Mr. Bank’s supporters suggested paying attention to the campaign disclosure reports that will be soon coming out. “The real story will be next week, after the filing,” he said, alluding to the possibility that the incumbent Assemblywoman’s fundraising would be more questionable.
Assemblywoman Barron’s husband, Councilman Charles Barron, is currently running for Congress in the same neighborhoods, and members of the crowd tended to view the married couple as one political unit. Councilman Barron, who is well known for very provocative statements, previously ran for the same Congressional seat in 2006 and Governor in 2010. One speaker introducing the candidate assured the crowd that Mr. Banks would be “proactive, not reactionary.”
After his speech, Mr. Banks asked the crowd for questions. He parried the first inquiry asking why voters shouldn’t reelect Ms. Barron, simply saying, “Today, we’re focusing on Chris Banks.”
In a twist on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy’s typical narrative, the next question came from a passerby inquiring about his own police experiences. “I’m a young white gentleman in East New York. I get stopped all the time by cops because they assume I’m buying drugs,” he began. “Is there any plans for us being less scared of the police, are you going to be able to work on that?” Mr. Banks assured the questioner that he’d be an advocate on his behalf. “Thanks sir, you’ve got my vote,” the man responded.
Watch the campaign announcement below: