Selvena Brooks, a communications specialist for the Service Employees International Union, is running for a vacant seat in the New York City Council’s 31st District. The district covers the city’s Far Rockaway area, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. In fact, Brooks is submitting paperwork to run as a “Rebuild Now” candidate, representing a party that’s focused on the Sandy recovery effort.
The New York Observer‘s Politicker blog quotes a statement from Brooks: “I am asking for people’s support on the Rebuild Now line, because we need strong leadership in not only rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but also rebuilding our education system, local economy and neighborhoods.”
Brooks is one of a number of candidates running for the position, which became vacant when the previous official, James Sanders, left for the State Senate. A special election is set for February 19.
Parts of New York and the surrounding area are still coping with Sandy’s aftermath, months after the storm hit in October. It was only last week that Congress approved a government flood insurance program that would pay out $9.7 billion to 120,000 victims of the storm. The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate. One of those who voted against the measure, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, who said the flood insurance program is “insolvent,” according to Bloomberg.
That vote followed a thorough blasting from fellow politicians, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
A vote for a larger relief package was cancelled on the 1st after fiscal cliff talks were finally resolved. The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had originally asked for tens of billions of dollars in aid.
There will be another vote on January 15, which would bring the aid total to $60 billion.