Shahana Hanif wins race for City Council in District 39

shahana hanif
City Council candidate Shahana Hanif.
Shahana for Brooklyn

Shahana Hanif has won the race for city council in District 39, picking up nearly 90 percent of votes and coming full-circle as she heads to City Hall to represent Park Slope, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington, where she was born and raised.

“I was born & raised in Brooklyn. I’m the daughter of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants, a Lupus survivor, & an activist,” Hanif tweeted. “I’m humbled to be the first Muslim woman elected to the New York City Council and the first woman to represent my district. WE DID IT.”

Hanif won 57 percent of votes in the primary after six rounds of ranked-choice voting, beating out Brandon West by just about 4,000 votes. In the general election, she faced off against Libertarian Matthew Morgan and Conservative Brett Wynkoop, a member of the right-wing conspiracy group the Oath Keepers. Morgan and Wynkoop picked up just about 3,000 votes combined on election night.

Councilmember-elect Shahana Hanif celebrates her victory on election night alongside fellow progressive winners.Photo by Paul Frangipane

Born and raised in Kensington, Hanif attended the now-closed Bishop Kearney High School in Bensonhurst and Brooklyn College and has been an activist and organizer in New York and in Bangladesh. She has worked in incumbent Brad Lander’s office since 2017, first as a community liason and most recently as Director of Organizing and Community Engagement. She’ll likely still be working with her old boss as he moves on to become New York City’s comptroller.

Her campaign has focused on reducing the budget of the New York City Police Department, expanding participatory budgeting, and reforming the city’s land use process “to ensure future rezonings do not exclude impacted residents like the Gowanus Rezoning process did,” according to her website. Hanif will likely be taking office just after the rezoning’s fate is decided by the current city council and Mayor Bill de Blasio in the last days of his term. In addition to Kensington and Gowanus, District 39 includes Cobble Hill, the Columbia Waterfront, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Borough Park.

Last spring, more than 100 women endorsed Hanif, who will be part of the largest number of women elected to the city council in history.