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Here Are the Local Democratic Primaries to Watch in North Brooklyn

By Gwynne Hogan | June 14, 2016 6:50pm
 Debbie Medina, Yungman Lee and Peter Lindner hope to upset the current leadership in upcoming state and federal primaries.
Debbie Medina, Yungman Lee and Peter Lindner hope to upset the current leadership in upcoming state and federal primaries.
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Courtesy of the Candidates

NORTH BROOKLYN — Some fresh-faced candidates are looking to take on some deep-seated Democratic incumbents in the upcoming state and congressional primaries with reform ideas like legalized marijuana, tax cuts for small business owners and "smart guns" to curb gun violence.

The U.S. Congressional primary is approaching fast on June 28, while this September state representatives come up for reelection. Here's what you need to know about the upcoming races:

► U.S. House of Representatives Primaries on June 28

DISTRICT 7 (The district includes neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan including Bushwick, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Williamsburg, Maspeth Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Lower East Side East Village and Chinatown)

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who has represented the district since 1993, faces off against Yungman Lee, a Chinatown banker and Jeff Kurzon, a self-proclaimed "Berniecrat." 

Lee has never held political office before, but served as president and CEO of Global Bank and a former deputy superintendent of the New York State Banking Department. One of the tenets of his economically driven platform is tax cuts for small businesses. 

Kurzon, who unsuccessfully challenged Velazquez in 2014, brings ideologies similar Sanders, like reforming campaign finance laws and closing tax loopholes for corporations and investing.

DISTRICT 12 (The district covers most of the East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island, Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint and parts of Woodside)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who has been in office since 1992 faces a democratic challenger this year, Pete Lindner a statistical analyst and marijuana legalization activist, whose platform focuses on gun control and job creation in in high-crime ares.

Here's an interview with him:

One of Lindner's main campaign tenants is "smart gun" legislation, where guns are synched to an owner's smartphone or special kind of watch allowing only them to activate the gun. This kind of locking device aims to cut down on stolen guns and accidental shootings. 

Maloney's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

If you're not sure what congressional district you live in you can look it up here. If you have more questions about the upcoming primaries, here's our round up of the June 28 primaries.

► Primaries for State Offices on Sept. 13

Candidates hoping to earn their way into the the New York State Assembly or the New York State Senate still officially have until July 14 to declare their candidacy with the New York State Board of Elections.

That hasn't stopped one candidate from challenging incumbent State Sen. Martin Dilan in the 17 District, which includes Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Cypress Hills, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville.

Dilan, who's been in office since 2002, faces off for a second time against tenant advocate Debbie Medina, who's worked for around two decades for the non-profit Southside United — Los Sures as organizer. She's seeking to bring tenant issues to the fore in Albany and reform laws that protect tenants there and has gotten the backing of Make the Road Action and New York Community for Change who both work on tenants rights issues.

In the 2014 primaries Medina gave incumbent Dilan a run for his money, earning herself about 40 percent of the primary vote.

This time around, she's hoping to tap into the progressive agenda ignited by Bernie Sanders, she said. She's affiliated with Democratic Socialist movement, and was endorsed by them.

"It's about the people its not about the money," Medina said. "I think know that people are just tired and do not trust [him] anymore."

Dilan rebuffed his opponent touting his experience in office.

"For a person who really has no track record in governance to say that I let the community down is totally wrong," he said. "I've been three for the community."

It's not yet clear if State Senator Daniel Squadron, or State Assembly representatives Maritza Davila (53rd District), Erik Dilan (54 District) or Joe Lentol (50th District), will face challengers, all of whom represent North Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Find more information about this primary season on the New York Board of Elections website.