DSA-backed Alexa Avilés trounces Libertarian opponent for Sunset Park Council seat

Alexa Avilés will succeed Carlos Menchaca in the Council’s 38th District after trouncing challenger Erik Frankel in the general election.
Courtesy of campaign

Democratic candidate Alexa Avilés will be District 38’s next City Councilmember, leading Libertarian challenger Erik Frankel by a crushing 6,526 votes, according to unofficial election night results.

“I want to thank my neighbors, who have fought for themselves and their families, for all of our dignity; the tireless volunteers in NYC-DSA; the union members who put in shift after shift; the dedicated domestic workers, Las Damas of Sunset Park, who were with us every step of the way; the parents, teachers and students who have been improving our schools, every single day; and all the organizations and individuals that contributed to this victory,” Avilés said in a statement after declaring victory Wednesday morning.

Democratic Socialists of America and Working Families Party-backed Avilés celebrated her nomination on election night at Maria’s Bistro in Sunset Park, which she will represent along with Greenwood Heights, Red Hook and parts of Borough Park, Windsor Terrace and Dyker Heights when she is inaugurated to a four-year term in January 2022. 

Avilés said she will immediately begin scouting staff rooted in her community, as well as jumping into the budget and ensuring city funding is being spent where it will best serve the city’s most vulnerable residents.

“I am committed to opening an office that is reflective and representative of this community, a diverse staff that really understand the culture of the community, that is our first order of business,” she told Brooklyn Paper at her watch party, “and then we are going to be diving into the budget that is going to be really critical budget for us and the rest of the city, really it is going to be about identifying those areas that we are going to need to dig in and really going to have to advocate fo increased funding or moving funding.” 

Alexa Avilés (third from right) with supporters at her election night party in Sunset Park.Photo by Jessica Parks

She believes the district’s biggest challenge is the COVID-19 pandemic and told Brooklyn Paper that it only further exposed issues already present in her districts, such as the overcrowded and underfunded public schools, housing insecurity, stagnant wages, lack of job opportunities and systemically inadequate approach to policing.  

She draws experience from her work in the nonprofit sector and her near decade-long role as the president of the Parent-Teacher Association for PS 172 in Sunset Park, where her daughter attended school. She also serves on Greenwood Heights’ MS 88 School Leadership Team, Community Board 7 and chair of the New York City Youth Board. 

As a City Councilmember, Avilés has said she plans to boost the district’s working-class families and immigrant community, whose members fear displacement from incoming luxury development she does not support— such as the dropped Industry City rezoning. She said she believes the city government needs to revamp the city planning process to consider the development’s impact on the surrounding community and that it includes climate resiliency measures that will benefit the neighborhood. 

The 20-year Sunset Park resident supports bringing jobs in the climate industry to the neighborhood and is a proponent of Norwegian energy company Equinor’s acquisition of the South Brooklyn Marine Termine to construct wind turbines which is expected to provide over 1,000 jobs to the local community. Though, she previously told Brooklyn Paper she is prepared to hold Equinor accountable if the agreed-upon benefits do not materialize. 

The incoming candidate supports the defund the police movement and believes the city government should cut funding for from the police budget for their services like mental health calls and allocate the monies to social services, according to her campaign website

Avilés is also a proponent of Healthcare for All, that all residents have the right to free healthcare and said she will fight for increased funding for public hospitals and the expansion of NYC Cares, a subsidized healthcare program for New Yorkers who do not qualify or cannot afford health insurance. 

She will succeed term-limited Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.