By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Citing Bill de Blasio’s fight to save Long Island College Hospital, Councilman Vincent Gentile announced on Monday that he is endorsing the public advocate for mayor.
Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) said he was impressed by the leading role de Blasio has played in the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) fight. Last month, de Blasio was arrested at a protest demonstration involving the hospital. Gentile said he’s also impressed by de Blasio’s efforts to keep neighborhood senior centers open in Brooklyn.
“Bill de Blasio understands what residents in southern Brooklyn need: strong neighborhood schools, safe streets, and local community health centers. While others have stood idly by as hospitals threaten to shut down across this city, de Blasio has stood on the front lines and fought in the courts to keep these hospitals open,” Gentile said.
Gentile announced his endorsement in a statement issued Aug. 19 by the Bay Ridge Democrats, a political club led by his communications director, Justin Brannan. In making the endorsement, the councilman is joining the club, which announced several months ago that it was backing de Blasio.
“We cannot overlook the basic needs of working and middle class New Yorkers — especially in the outer boroughs. Bill de Blasio will speak up for those who have been ignored for far too long,” Gentile, who is running for re-election, said.
De Blasio, locked in a tight battle with Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson for the Democratic nomination for mayor with less than a month to go before the Sept. 10 primary, said he was pleased that Gentile endorsed him.
“From fighting to keep neighborhood senior centers open to standing up for homeowners and small business owners in his community, Vinnie Gentile has worked tirelessly to represent the residents of Brooklyn — and I’m honored to receive his endorsement today,” de Blasio said.
“We need to bring true, progressive change to City Hall — through plans for early education and after-school programs, strong police-community relations that make everyone safer, and drastically expanded affordable housing options for our city’s residents. I’m determined to make these reforms for our city next year — and I’m proud to have Councilman Gentile join us in this effort,” de Blasio said.
Gentile’s endorsement of de Blasio surprised some Bay Ridge political observers. It had been rumored that the councilman was set to endorse Quinn. The two even visited an R train stop together in late July to hand out informational fliers about the closure of the Montague Street Tunnel. But Gentile decided to back de Blasio instead.