East New York native Keron Alleyne is one of the main candidates running in the special election for State Assembly District 60, covering East New York, Starrett City, Brownsville, and Canarsie.

Alleyne was part of Community Board 5 and served as Democratic male district leader for the 60th Assembly District. He also worked for former State Assemblymember and City Council member Charles Barron. Barron said that Alleyne is the best candidate for the district because he’s a family man, organizer, and a leader.

“He did things like help senior citizens when they had snow in front of their homes,” said Alleyne. “He’s a wonderful person and we’re very optimistic that Keron is going to be the next assembly member. We believe that he can win, and we’re in it to win it.”

In terms of competition from fellow candidate Nikki Lucas, Alleyne said that his organizing work and community track records stand alone. He said he’s unconcerned about the “political machine.” He is running on the Working Families Party (WFP) line and has also been endorsed by State Sen. Jabari Brisport, Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Tenants PAC, New York Community for Change, and others.

“We’re going to run an honorable campaign to vy for the votes of the community members,” said Alleyne. “We’re backed by the people.”

Raised in a household with a cross-generation of family members, Alleyne said he was taught the importance of service from both his parents and grandparents. His grandfather became a steward of community gardens on the block. A tradition Alleyne has continued and led to his initiatives to provide more fresh food access across the district.

“Growing up in the East, I grew up with a lot of family,” said Alleyne. “My family came to this country from Trinidad. We basically all lived in the same house.”

Part of his upbringing in the community, said Alleyne, was riddled with ‘stop and frisk’ police harassment. He said whether it was walking through the playground or coming back from a fast food place, there was always an interaction with police. Because of his experiences, he wants to prioritize state funding for local cure violence organizations and address the numerous economic conditions that lead to crime and violence.

“I do not believe that the first thing when it comes to my safety is police,” said Alleyne. “But we [can] collectively work on community solutions, community control, and also look at cure violence programs on the state level.”

As a father of a five-year-old in the “COVID-era,” Alleyne said he would also find funding for universal child care. He said it would be a great benefit for working parents. On education in general, Alleyne wants to allocate space to fully fund schools and bridge the technology gap for students. He suggested free portable hotspots for students that don’t have access to wifi or stable housing that has internet.

Alleyne said the other pressing issues facing the district include affordable housing, adequate health care for all, transportation equity, policing reform, and climate change.

Early voting for the special election began this past Saturday, but voting caps on Election Day next Tuesday, Feb. 15. From there, the elected assembly member goes on to fight to keep the seat in the June primary and then again in November’s general election.

“I’m a marathon,” said Alleyne about the possibility of winning only to continue campaigning. “I always think in turns of the long run. I’m absolutely ready to flip the switch and go right into the petition period and having conversations with community members who didn’t vote for me, to understand why. And make sure whether or not they voted for me, I represent them. ”

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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