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First candidate for open Assembly seat

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Coney Islander Mathylde Frontus threw her hat in the ring to fill the vacant seat left behind by disgraced former Assemblywoman Pamela Harris (D–Coney Island), who resigned three months after the Feds charged her with stealing cash from storm-recovery agencies.

Frontus, the child of Haitian immigrants and a resident of the district for more than 30 years, is the first to announce her candidacy for the Bay Ridge-to-Coney Island seat, though rumors are swirling with other potential candidates.

Frontus, an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s and New York University’s schools of social work, said during her April 12 campaign kickoff that she’s the right person for the job of representing the district as the founder of two anti-violence organizations in Coney Island, her work in schools, and with the local 60th Precinct, and she pledged to help the diverse district fight against illegal home conversions and for affordable housing, better jobs, and better public transit.

“I am proud of my record of service and leadership in the 46th Assembly District. I know what it’s like to fight with my neighbors in the trenches by finding solutions to the issues that our working families face on a daily basis,” said Frontus. “Together, we must tackle the issues that matter the most to us, this includes affordable housing, homeownership assistance, illegal home conversions, strong union jobs and training programs, health care, and responsible economic development.”

Frontus currently has $4,439 in her campaign coffers, state records show, and among the other rumored candidates vying for the seat, Coney Island Councilman Mark Treyger’s former chief of staff Ethan Lustig-Elgrably recently registered a committee, along with Kate Cucco — who lost to Harris in the 2016 Democratic primary — and Republican Steve Saperstein — who lost to Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) in 2017.

The winner of the Sept. 13 Democratic primary will go on to face the Republican candidate in the Nov. 6 general election, since Harris resigned too late for a special election.

• • •

Five Brooklyn pols joined newly elected Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D–Manhattan) on an eight-day trip to Israel last week to learn about and celebrate the country as it commemorates its 70th anniversary as a Jewish state.

Councilmen Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge), Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick), and Stephen Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg), along with Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D–East Flatbush) set off for the land of milk and honey on April 12 and will return to New York on April 20, all paid for by do-gooder organization, the Jewish Community Relations Council, which advocates for the interests of Jewish communities across the five boroughs, according to information from Johnson’s office.

The eight-day excursion includes a sit-down with political leaders from Jerusalem, a visit to the holy Western Wall and the Lebanon and Gaza borders, and meetings with Israeli LGBTQ leaders, religious leaders, and a researcher with the think tank, the Palestinian Center for Survey Research, according to Johnson’s office.

But just four of the Brooklyn pols — Brannan, Espinal, Deutsch, and Ampry-Samuel — have publicized the trip on their social media platforms either by sharing posts or uploading their own pictures from the Jewish homeland.

Levin, on the other hand, though tagged in photos, made no mention of his trip to the Holy Land, and was implying to his Twitter followers that he was still in he borough, urging them to vote — seemingly alongside him — in McCarren Park for community projects as part of the participatory budgeting process.

“We’re here in McCarren Park today collecting votes for Participatory budgeting (and soaking up the sun)!” Levin wrote on Twitter on April 14, though by that time he was safely on the ground in the Middle East.

A rep for Levin said he is not trying to hide anything, and the work must go on back in Brooklyn — but the pol shared his first posts about being in Israel right after this paper reached out on April 18.

• • •

Bay Ridgite Kevin Peter Carroll will not run for re-election to the unpaid position of district leader after winning the seat in a contentious and historic 2010 election when he became Brooklyn’s youngest-elected state committeeman at 24-years-old.

Carroll, who has close ties to the Brooklyn Democratic machine — his cousin is Park Slope Assemblyman Robert Carroll — told this paper back in December that he was considering giving up the post and would make a decision sometime in 2018.

But now the time has come for him to take some time off — after a mysterious months-long vacation from his gig at Councilman Steve Levin’s (D–Brooklyn Heights) office — following the death of his mother right before the hotly contested Bay Ridge Council election in September, according to Bklyner, which first reported the story.

Carroll’s decision could pave the way for another interesting election and for former Bay Ridge district leader Ralph Perfetto to reclaim the seat he held for 18 years.

Neither Perfetto or Carroll responded to requests for comment.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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