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Prospective Candidates Line up to Vie For Dan Garodnick's Council Seat

By DNAinfo Staff on April 6, 2012 9:20am

Community Board 6 Chair Mark Thompson is "seriously considering" running for city council.
Community Board 6 Chair Mark Thompson is "seriously considering" running for city council.
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Mark Thompson

By Mary Johnson and Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — Now that Dan Garodnick has officially declared his plans to run for city comptroller, challengers are lining up to vie for his City Council seat.

Several prospective candidates are signaling interest in securing the spot representing Manhattan’s 4th District, which stretches from Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to the Upper East Side.

Among those seriously considering a run are Mark Thompson, chair of Community Board 6, and Department of Education staffer Dara Adams.

Mark Thompson:

“I’m very seriously considering running for Dan’s seat,” Thompson said in an interview. “And I hope to make an announcement some time soon.”

Dara Adams, 26, is another possible contender for Garodnick's seat.
Dara Adams, 26, is another possible contender for Garodnick's seat.
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Dara Adams

A native of Orange County, Calif., Thompson has lived in Stuyvesant Town for the past 22 years.  

His resume includes several years working for the city when he was fresh out of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, but he has spent the bulk of his career as a government relations adviser for Capalino+Company, helping cultural institutions, nonprofits and businesses navigate city agencies and policies.

“City planning is my background, my soul basically,” Thompson said. “I love what I do, and it fits in exactly with the City Council.”

Thompson recently worked with the Museum of Chinese America, helping the organization secure funding and build its facility on Centre Street in Chinatown.

Thompson has been a member of Community Board 6 for the past decade, and for the past three years he has served as the board’s chair.

Working with his fellow community members and residents, he has developed a strong interest in issues related to small businesses, senior citizens, school overcrowding and quality-of-life problems like traffic and safety.

“There are all these issues that I love, but as the city councilperson, you can be so much more effective at getting things done,” Thompson said. “You look at your district and what you can for your district, but you also look at things citywide.”

Community Board 6 limits its board chairs to serving three one-year terms. Thompson will hit that limit this year — making it perhaps the perfect time for him to pursue a spot representing District 4.

Dara Adams:

Dara Adams works for the Department of Education as a liaison to public officials. The 26-year-old began her career as a volunteer on Hillary Clinton’s senate reelection campaign, and later served as Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s community affairs director, where she worked with local community organizations, including Community Board 6.

“I’m very familiar with the concerns and the strengths of the district,” said Adams, who moved to the city from Long Island when she was 18.

The Tudor City resident, who is also pursuing a part-time master’s degree in urban affairs at Hunter College, said she is passionate about transportation issues, including providing more affordable and reliable service, and sustainability issues, including a controversial new waterfront waste transfer station.

“I think that [the key is] building coalitions, it’s getting the right people in the room to make sure everyone knows what’s going on,” she said of her governing philosophy, adding that, since her days as the leader of her school chorus group, model congress and debate team, she has never been the kind of person who likes to sit back and complain.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick is running to replace John Liu as comptroller, leaving his seat open to up-and-comers.
City Councilman Dan Garodnick is running to replace John Liu as comptroller, leaving his seat open to up-and-comers.
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“If I see a problem then I want to address it," she said. “I see an opportunity, and I see a door and I really want to go through it."

She is also relishing the chance to be a trailblazer as perhaps the youngest-ever female city councilmember.

“That would be really significant,” she said. "We don’t have enough women in general, but we don’t have enough young women especially, standing in front of their constituents and saying, ‘I’m here for you, I’m here to listen.’”

Other names that are also being floated as potential contenders include Steven Newmark, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's deputy counsel and a member of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association board.

Garodnick, who announced his bid to take over from embattled City Comptroller John Liu earlier this week, said he was pleased by the names he's heard so far.

“They are an impressive group and I look forward to hearing more about their ideas for the district,” he said.