Some voters in Southern Brooklyn are concerned that Queens-born and bred Assemblyman David Weprin — the Democratic machine’s candidate to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner — will do nothing for the borough if he’s elected to Congress in September.
“If he becomes my congressman, I’m going to have to meet with him about the corner of Gerritsen Avenue and Knapp Street, but this guy will only know about Cross Bay Boulevard,” bemoaned Teresa Scavo, chairwoman of Community Board 15 in Sheepshead Bay. “[Weprin’s] not going to have the drive to help us because he doesn’t know our area. You always focus on what you know best and what he knows best is Queens.”
Brooklyn Democratic Boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick) and Rep. Joe Crowley (D–Queens), his counterpart in the neighboring borough to the north, announced that Weprin would be the Democratic nominee on the special election to replace Weiner on July 8.
Weprin freely admits that he has no Brooklyn pedigree to speak of — although his parents grew up here — but promises to take care to all of his constituents in the expansive bi-borough district, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Midwood and Marine Park.
But many Brooklynites are not calmed by his promises.
“We need someone from Brooklyn,” said Sheepshead Bay native Angela Semirrette. “Weiner knew about the different complexities of the neighborhood. [Weprin] will have to learn along the way.”
Sheepshead Bay resident Martin Guillermo whole-heartedly agreed.
“It’s not right [that Weprin was selected without the voters consent],” he said. “The candidate should be somebody I know from Brooklyn. Weprin’s gotta stay on his side.”
Since there will be no primary, the county leaders selected the candidates who will replace Weiner, who stepped down in disgrace after it was revealed that he had been sexting and sending lurid pictures of himself to women across the country.
Since 70 percent of Weiner’s district is in Queens, Crowley held more sway over who the Democratic nominee will be, although Lopez claimed that Weprin was always his first choice. Brooklynites who sought the nomination included former District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman and Councilman Herb Berman (D–Marine Park).
Weprin is now poised to do battle with GOP nominee Bob Turner — another Queens resident — but the victory could be short: the bi-borough district may disappear when redistricting takes hold next year. New York is expected to lose two congressional seats during the redistricting process, which will be based on 2010 census data.
Still, Weprin promises to represent Brooklyn with all of his might whether he’s in Congress for ten months or ten years.
“David Weprin takes his responsibilities very seriously and will represent everyone in the district, whether they’re in Mill Basin or Fresh Meadows,” said Evan Stavisky, a spokesman for the Weprin campaign. “He’s going to fight hard in behalf of everyone in the community.”
That said, residents like Eugene Goncharov plan on giving Weprin a shot — even if he isn’t from Brooklyn.
“[David Weprin’s being from Queens] is definitely going to be a negative, but as long as he listens to the people, it should be fine,” Goncharov said.
— with Haru Coryne