THE BRONX — State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., a Democrat who staunchly opposed gay marriage and invited conservative Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to the city during his presidential campaign, now hopes to represent The Bronx on the New York City Council.
The 74-year-old father of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., often seen wearing a cowboy hat, currently represents New York State's 32nd District in the State Senate, which covers neighborhoods including Morrisania and Soundview. He wants to replace outgoing Councilwoman Annabel Palma in the 18th City Council District, which also covers Soundview, along with neighborhoods including Castle Hill and Parkchester.
In an email announcing his candidacy, Diaz Sr. said that he had compiled an "exemplary legislative record" in state government and took credit for several community projects, such as building low-income housing, repairing train stations and re-paving streets.
"I believe that the residents of the 32nd Senatorial District in Bronx County have been well represented during the past 15 years," he wrote. "I enter into this new endeavor praying and hoping: that God will provide me with health and fortitude."
Diaz was elected to the State Senate in 2002, and although he is a Democrat, some of his stances have long been at odds with those of his party.
He cast the senate's sole Democratic vote against New York State's gay marriage law in 2011, later saying he believes marriage is "between a man and a woman," and said that he was "honored" when Cruz accepted his invitation to visit The Bronx in April 2016, shortly before New York's presidential primary.
A total of six people have declared their candidacy for the 18th City Council District in addition to Diaz, and Elvin Garcia, who previously worked as Bronx Borough Director at the Mayor's Office, has raised the most private funds so far, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.