Community Board 1 member Jason Otano says that he’s the guy to help North Brooklyn forget about Vito Lopez.
Otano, 34, announced on Monday that he is running for state assembly seat that Lopez held for 27 years — until resigning over a scathing report detailing the former Democratic county chairman’s sexual harassment of staffers.
Otano used to be borough President Markowitz’top lawyer, and now he’s the head of CB1’s Economic Development Committee. The primary will be held on Sept. 10, with Maritza Davila also running for the Democratic nomination.
On the day that Otano officially announced his candidacy on the steps of Borough Hall, he checked in with Danielle Furfaro.
DF: Why are you running for Vito Lopez’s Assembly seat?
JO: Our representation in this state has not been on par with what I think the people of these communities deserve. I believe that we can bring honesty and respect to politics in a way that hasn’t existed in a long time.
DF: How do you plan to bring back that honesty and respect?
JO: I have tried to be a voice for progressive politics and worked with community groups on issues from affordable housing, environmental rights, equal access to education and access to justice in general.
DF: What do you mean by access to justice?
JO: We have a real issue in this country with poor folks being underrepresented in the court system. I believe we can fix that so that poor folks have a chance at actual justice.
DF: What do you think about Vito Lopez and the work that he did while in office?
JO: He’s done a lot in the district and his level of support throughout the years speaks to that. But we’ve also witnessed how he’s suffocated organizations and affected their ability to thrive. We’ve seen that going beyond just policy to the way he disrespects women and how he’s treated folks. There’s clearly a moral gap. While he has been effective as an assemblyman, I think I can do that without foregoing respect for women and respect for the community.dfurfaro@c