Rajiv Gowda, the former First Vice President of Local 375, DC 37, announced Jan. 21, that he is seeking the 2020 Democratic Party nomination for State Senate District 23 which represents the North and East shores of Staten Island and portions of Southern Brooklyn including Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, and Sunset Park.
District 23 appears to be heavily Democratic with the current incumbent Diane Savino, winning her seat with 68.9 percent of the vote in 2018, leaving her Republican opponent trailing, according to Ballotpedia figures. She also handily defeated her own party challengers in the 2018 Democratic Party primary winning 67.5 percent of the vote.
“The residents of our community desire new leaders who will challenge the political establishment, root out corruption in Albany and give a new reformist Democratic voice to communities that have long been neglected in Staten Island and Brooklyn,” Gowda is quoted saying in a press release from his campaign.
The Indian-American candidate has vowed not to accept money from corporate PACS, special interest groups, and real estate developers.
If he wins the Democratic Party nomination on June 23, 2020, he could become the second Indian-American State Senator in Albany after Kevin Thomas.
Gowda’s campaign criticized Savino without naming her, saying, “Unlike the current Senator from District 23, who is continuously swayed into working with Republican Senators – as a breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) member – on issues that Democrats have long fought for, Rajiv Gowda pledges to uphold core Democratic values and to act in accordance with those values.”
Gowda is a former delegate to both DC 37 and to the Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO), as well as the former Vice President and life member of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL).
“Coming from Organized Labor and building a family while working a union job, Rajiv Gowda knows the importance of extending this same opportunity to as many Staten Islanders and Brooklynites as possible.” his campaign said.
Gowda also criticized Savino for trying to get Staten Island to separate from New York City, a position he said he disagrees with.
“We can only get what we need by working with the Democratic Senate Majority, and having a State Senator who will be trusted enough to chair the important committees deciding policies concerning Education, Health and Transportation,” said Gowda who formerly served as President of District 31, Community Educational Council and as is the former Chairman of the Transportation and Waterfront Committee of Community Board #1.
Gowda, who worked for 30 years for the City’s Department of Design and Construction asserted that, “Our infrastructure is old and crumbling and needs attention now. I have an eye for infrastructure and can perceive the problems that plague our city’s congested streets and neighborhoods.”
Gowda ran in the past for New York City Council from District 49, according to his Twitter sight @GowdaRajiv.