Chris Marte Barnstorms Forsyth Street Ahead of City Council Primary

Posted on: May 17th, 2021 at 5:09 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

Spring sprung late, but campaign season is early. While the citywide elections are still in November, the primaries are scheduled for June 22, rather than September. And with this calendar shift comes a change to the ballot, too, as ranked-choice voting becomes a reality. If you’re confused about who’s running for Mayor, which City Council district you’re in, or what ranked choice voting is, you should be! Indeed, at least 35 out of 50 City Council seats will turn over and there are now eight Mayoral candidates, not to mention the Comptroller office and DA’s race.

(Here are two resources with maps and guides that should clear up any of the process confusion at least.)

What shouldn’t be confusing, though, is meeting the candidates who are anxious to exit Zoom meetings and just hit the streets. While we are entering a new post-pandemic normalcy, wearing out shoe leather is still how local candidates earn votes; despite the fact that culture wars and identity politics continue to dominate headlines and social media streams.

District 1 City Council candidate Chris Marte appears to be adhering to the tried-and-true method of winning over constituents. Yesterday, Marte spoke to Boogie about how he spent time in the city since the last election, bridging gaps between communities in different neighborhoods. A point exemplified by the diverse crowd of supporters the candidate attracted to the public plaza across from his campaign headquarters on Forsyth Street.

This “Barnstorm Rally,” as the campaign dubbed it, gathered for a series of quick speeches from heads of the community organizations and Democratic clubs that have endorsed the ambitious candidate, who came within 220 votes of unseating then-incumbent Margaret Chin in the 2017 race. (Margaret Chin has occupied the City Council seat for 12 years now.)

Born and raised on the Lower East Side, Chris Marte, a public school kid whose father owned a local bodega, did not need to pass any “are you a ‘real New Yorker’” pop quiz. Questions about Nets or Nicks, Yankees or Mets, or if you’ve ever been to the Cloisters, have plagued the mayoral race on social media and distracted from many political and cultural issues facing New Yorkers as the city enters into a post-COVID reality.

Criminal justice and police reform, neighborhood rezoning, education, immigration rights and homelessness – these and a host of FED issues, not normally associated with city candidates, attest to the importance of this local office.

That said, Chris Marte does own bike and he rides it, even when it’s not bike month. He eats pizza with his hands, and hot dogs, too. He speaks Spanish and some Mandarin after living in China for two years. He doesn’t own a dog but “Junior NYC” is the campaign’s mascot. He plays basketball and has run a marathon.

Chinatown Working Group spokesperson Zishun Ning delivered another boisterous endorsement outlining the changes needed protect neighborhoods from being controlled by the “one percent” while pointing to the Extell Tower dominating the downtown skyline.

Downtown Independent Democrats President Richard Corman called on supporters to echo the unity in the entire district that he said Marte has worked for over the last four years.

Others who endorsed Marte at the rally included representatives from Voters for Animal Rights, Village Independent Democrats, Grand Street Dems, New Downtown Dems, and PSC CUNY.

After the quick rally, Marte lead a chant for change and dispatched his amped-up volunteers across the district to engage with constituents and ask for votes.

As with other races, it’s a crowded field here in Lower Manhattan, the district which Marte described in a press release as “the most economically, socially, racially diverse district in Manhattan.” Marte will face off on June 22 against Denny Salas, Gigi Li, Jenny Lam Low, Maud Maron, Sean Hayes, Susan Damoto, Susan Lee, and Tiffany Winbush.

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