Marlon Molina, a board member on Bronx Community Board 3 and a founding member of the Bronx Volunteer Coalition, has entered the race and said his experience in the private sector and as a community advocate will help distinguish him from the wide field of candidates.
"What sets me apart is that I have a track record, and I have a commitment of fighting for affordable housing, fighting for safer streets and also understanding that development and investment in a district is important," he said.
Molina came to the United States from Honduras in 1982 and grew up in Mott Haven by 138th Street and St. Ann's Avenue.
"I remember that there were a lot of vacant buildings, vacant lots," he said. "The revitalization that has taken place was not there yet."
His responsibilities as a community organizer included securing clean and safe recreational spaces for children and helping to preserve affordable housing, which he said would be a top priority of his if elected to the City Council.
“It’s the biggest expense that we all have,” he said. “Sometimes half of your paychecks or even more goes to pay for housing.”
Molina called for developing and investing in the South Bronx responsibly to increase job opportunities while avoiding gentrification.
He is also passionate about reducing gun violence, an issue that has had a strong and personal impact on him.
"When I was 19, I lost my brother to gun violence, and he was only 26, and that was probably the most devastating thing that has ever happened to my family," Molina said.
Arroyo announced in November that she would resign from her council seat, and her resignation took effect on Dec. 31.
Molina joins South Bronx businessman George Alvarez, Bronx Community Board 2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca, Arroyo’s chief of staff Joann Otero, activist and businessman Julio Pabón, Rep. Jose Serrano staffer Amanda Septimo, preacher and businessman Rev. J. Loren Russell, Human Resources Administration Director of Business Development Anthony Sanchez and union leader Helen Foreman-Hines in the race.
"It’s all about the connection with the community and having a good ground game to make sure you reach people with your message," Molina said.