By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A former Borough Hall staffer who now heads Borough President Marty Markowitz’s “Best of Brooklyn” charity is now seeking Vito Lopez’ former 53rd District (Williamsburg-Bushwick) seat in the state Assembly.
Jason Otaño, former general counsel to Markowitz, who will face at least two opponents in the Democratic primary, has been endorsed by many of the borough’s political heavy hitters, including Congresswoman Nydia Velazaquez, Councilwoman Diana Reyna and Markowitz himself.
Velazquez and Reyna also backed Otaño last year when he ran unsuccessfully against state Senator Martin Dilan, whose Senate district includes Williamsburg, Bushwick, part of Greenpoint, part of East New York and Cypress Hills.
At the time, Otaño and Velazquez charged Dilan with being Lopez’s candidate. However, Dilan responded that he had merely accepted the endorsement of Lopez, who was Democratic county leader at the time, and was running his own campaign without Lopez’s interference.
In addition to his Borough Hall posts, Otaño, a graduate of Fordham Law School, currently serves as a member of Brooklyn Community Board 1 and was recently appointed to the board of El Puente, a historic Williamsburg community organization.
Best of Brooklyn, the non-profit organization that Otaño heads, promotes tourism and produces a wide range of programming, including the Brooklyn Book Festival and Brooklyn Restaurant Week.
“I’m running for the State Assembly to give Brooklynites a clean break from the rotten politics of the past,” said Otaño. “Together, we will win this election and make sure the reprehensible practices of Vito Lopez are replaced by the values that are the real hallmark of this community.”
Other candidates include Charvey Gonzalez, a former Marine and an aide to Dilan; and District Leader Maritza Davila, who Lopez is backing, according to City and State.