Brooklyn Candidate Vies to Become First Mexican-American Councilman

(Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario-La Prensa)

Community organizer and gay activist Carlos Menchaca is running for City Council. If he wins, he would be the first city councilman with Mexican roots. (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario-La Prensa)

Carlos Menchaca, 32, wants to build new leadership in Brooklyn’s District 38 by becoming the first city councilman of Mexican heritage.

Menchaca, a gay activist and community organizer in Red Hook, is seeking to unseat Sara González, in the upcoming Democratic party primaries. González has represented the district since 2002.

“I grew up in public housing and my family got ahead thanks to assistance programs. I understand the employment and healthcare needs of people living on the margins of society,” Menchaca emphasized during his campaign launch on June 8.

He explained that he first thought of running for City Council after Hurricane Sandy, when he observed a lack of help from elected officials in Red Hook.

“I have the capacity and the energy to be a voice for the residents,” he said.

Menchaca has been endorsed by Local 32BJ and grassroots organizations such as Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change. The news of his candidacy was well-received in various neighborhoods of District 38, which includes Red Hook, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Gowanus and areas like Park Slope and Bay Ridge.

“We need young leadership to resolve the Latino community’s needs, which Councilwoman González pushed into the background over the past few years,” said André Puente, a 27-year-old Puerto Rican resident of Sunset Park.

“The growing problems in our neighborhoods need fresh ideas,” said Sonia Medrano, of Dominican background.

Menchaca, the son of a single mother who emigrated from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, is popular among working-class families and young voters.

“Mexicans and Mexican-Americans urgently need political representation in the city,” said Joel Magallán, founder of the Tepeyac Association.

Referring to Mexican groups that support González – who did not comment – Menchaca said that if he wins, he would try to work with them and unify efforts.


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