By Morgan C. Mullings
Diana Reyna, former deputy borough president of Brooklyn and City Council member, will run for lieutenant governor alongside Congressman Tom Suozzi in the 2022 gubernatorial race. Announced Wednesday at a noisy Rodney Park in Brooklyn, the two expressed their hope to bring common-sense policies to Albany.
“I’m a first-generation Dominican American. The first person in my family to go to high school and college, to graduate, with opportunities and education that my parents in the Dominican Republic could not have,” said Reyna at the press conference. “I want to help to keep that American dream alive.”
If elected, Reyna would be the first Latina lieutenant governor—continuing the trend of making history that started with Brian Benjamin, the first Caribbean American to hold statewide office.
“I want to represent the heart and soul of New York. And I want to work with Tom Suozzi to build a better New York,” she continued. They bond over being first-generation Americans, Suozzi’s family being from Italy.
Reyna highlighted two of Suozzi’s key policies that bolster his campaign: Giving judges more discretion to set bail, and creating more affordable housing. And Suozzi says that she is the right person for the job because of her work as a City Council member for Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood.
“Diana believes that public service is about getting things done to improve the lives of the people we serve,” said Suozzi. “One of the things that very important to me about Diana is that she is very tough.”
Reyna stressed that she would not be playing to the left or the right in her race, which is perfectly aligned with Suozzi’s message so far. “Tom Suozzi and I won’t hide from the tough issues, won’t pander to the political left or right, and will stand up to the special interests and lobbyists that have been choking Albany for decades,” Reyna said.
So far, Reyna’s main opponent is Benjamin, a former state senator representing Harlem and Governor Kathy Hochul’s downstate pick when she became Andrew Cuomo’s successor. The position is widely regarded as ceremonial—a comment often used for the borough president position as well.
In this case, it is also symbolic. Suozzi and Hochul are white Democrats who strategically searched for people of color from New York City, bringing two political hubs together. It’s worth noting that Black and Latino politicians from Brooklyn are currently dominating the political landscape, and Reyna was the deputy to NYC Mayor Eric Adams, the man leading that charge.
Benjamin’s main success as lieutenant governor is his involvement in Hochul’s bill that gives formerly incarcerated individuals a second chance and reduces prison population.
Suozzi has opposed most of their work together during his campaign, including the governor’s most recent bill on single-family home apartments.
Reyna says that Suozzi’s record speaks for itself. “He has done an amazing job as a congressional candidate, as an executive county leader, and as a mayor fighting for his hometown.”
This story first appeared on PoliticsNY.com.