‘A job interview.’ Longtime Assembly Member Benedetto faces Soto, Quattlebaum in Democratic primary
With the 82nd Assembly District Democratic primary elections underway, a longtime Assembly member faces two challengers with very different views on how to lead the East Bronx community.
Assembly Member Michael Benedetto has been representing the East Bronx for nearly two decades, but he is not taking it for granted.
“I don’t think of it as a reelection, I think of it as a job interview,” Benedetto says.
Benedetto believes his resume merits two more years in Albany. As chair of the Education Committee, he says he is proud of his work on behalf of New York schools.
While he says that more money has been given to education in the state of New York than ever before, others - like Jonathan Soto - challenge this belief.
Soto, a community organizer, is one of the challengers in the Democratic primary. He previously worked for Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, leading the Homework Helpers Program which provides virtual assistance to students in the district.
“As a planner and trained in law and (who) worked in city government, I have a clear vision of the type of mitigation, investment and advocacy that needs to be led by residents that live here,” says Soto.
Fellow candidate and community leader Algernon Quattlebaum is a minister, chef and someone who believes he is the best choice for the district. He tells News 12 he was not planning to run until he was urged to do so by the community.
“I started looking at things more and more and decided, yes maybe because I'm from the people, for the people, I love the people,” Quattlebaum says. “I love my community and it's time for somebody who's not about politics."
All three candidates on the ballot are looking to represent the 82nd District, with their own vision for the community.
"I have worked for this neighborhood before I was elected,” Assembly member Benedetto says. “And I’ve been doing that since I’ve been elected, and I think I’ve been doing it good.”
"Along with you, the voter, we can create a better East Bronx together,” says Soto. “And make sure that we organize for whole communities and safe streets."
"Every community has its own set of problems, and I want to hear from everybody,” says Quattlebaum. “I'm going to be a true legislator who's going to communicate with you."