Mark Winston Griffith, who ran for City Council in 2009, just registered a committee to run again in 2013, a strong step forward to making an eventual run for the seat. The incumbent Mr. Griffith challenged last cycle, Councilman Al Vann, is term-limited out, creating an open seat and a prime opportunity for local aspiring candidates.
Currently Mr. Griffith is a member of the Adjunct Faculty at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism and is particularly passionate about bringing more progressive leadership to Central Brooklyn. “I don’t think Central Brooklyn has been adequately represented in progressive campaigns and addressing some of the deepest needs in our neighborhoods,” he said, citing the Living Wage Bill and education issues in particular.
The prospective candidate also sounds eager to shift the broader City Council’s relationship with whoever New York City’s next Mayor will be in 2013. “I think we need to build a progressive force within the City Council that has the ability to go toe-to-toe with the Mayor,” he said while explaining his vision for the office. “Really try to build a progressive agenda.”
The focus on enabling the City Council to more effectively check the Mayor is especially notable in light of the backroom politics surrounding who the next Speaker will be. With so many term-limited Council Members in 2013 — thanks to a temporary term limits extension in 2009 — there will be a flood of new members and it’s unknown whether the next majority coalition will favor a more establishment-oriented Speaker or one that more aggressively pushes progressive issues like the Living Wage Bill.
Open City Council seats often draw a large number of candidates, and Councilman Vann’s seat, which drew a large number of challengers when the incumbent himself was running in 2009, looks to be no exception.
Already, a number of other potential contenders have emerged. Pastor Robert Waterman has a 2013 campaign account open for the district, but has not raised any money since 2009. District Leader Robert Cornegy Jr., who also ran in 2009, is expected by some Brooklyn insiders to make another effort in 2013 as well. While Kirsten John Foy, an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said that he’s considering taking the plunge too.