Brooklyn, NY – With the timing of David Greenfield’s announcement of his upcoming departure from the City Council shutting the door on the possibility of potential candidates scoring a spot on the ballot for the upcoming September primary, it seemed as if Kalman Yeger had an uncontested path to the 44th District seat in the City Council.
But a new face with a not so new name has thrown his hat into the ring, as Yoni Hikind, son of Assemblyman Dov Hikind, announced on Tuesday that he will be running for Greenfield’s soon to be vacated City Council seat as an independent candidate.
Yeger appeared to be a shoo in after being named by Greenfield to succeed him as the Democratic candidate in a race that featured no challengers until Hikind declared his candidacy. The 36 year old Hikind dismissed allegations that his entering the race was yet another chapter in the often frosty relationship between his father and Greenfield.
“I want people to appreciate and understand that democracy means their right to have a choice,” Hikind told The Daily News (http://nydn.us/2hm1W82).
Hikind’s only foray into politics came in 2011 when he worked as a legislative aide for Assemblyman Peter Abbate, a job that secured for him by his father that also earned him free health insurance.
Hikind, who has a masters in social work, said that the job had been a good opportunity for him to learn about politics and that as a member of the City Council, he hopes to be able to help others in a big way.
A newly released Hikind campaign video describes how the candidate grew up in a culture of public service and promised to “take the politics out of politics” by serving the public with sincerity, devotion and transparency.
Despite having a father with years of experience in the field, Hikind said that he intends to do things his way as he steps into the political arena, telling his father that he would call him if he had any questions.
“This is my campaign and he really respects that and he understands the need for me to do it,” said Hikind, who will begin collecting signatures on Wednesday for his candidacy on his newly formed Our Neighborhood party line.
Hikind announced his campaign on Twitter on Tuesday night with a tweet bearing the hashtag #YouMatter.
Yeger, who had originally planned on challenging his cousin through marriage Chaim Deutsch for his City Council seat according to Brooklyn Daily (http://bit.ly/2f7zfel), responded with a tweet of his own just moments later saying “My opponent chose Tisha B’Av a the day to launch his campaign. #classy.”
Greenfield stunned the city with his July 17th news that he would be taking over as the new CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2hm9NCw).
Naming his protégé to take his spot in an uncontested drew protests from some, prompting Susan Lerner, executive director of democratic group Common Cause New York, to charge the veteran councilman with denying his constituents the right to a competitive election, according to Gothamist (http://bit.ly/2hlDFyO).
“This kind of cynical tactic props up insiders and elite at the expense of voter confidence in our democratic institutions,” said Lerner. “It’s a shame and a shanda.”