By Andrea Karshan
Mayoral Candidate Darren Aquino says he has solutions for the challenges this city is facing.
Aquino, a relative unknown in city politics, is running for Mayor in the 2017 election on the Republican party line, and joining a crowded field of other possible GOP contenders, none of which has held public office. This includes Rev. Michel Faulkner, Real Estate magnate Paul Massey Jr. and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg aide Kevin Sheekey.
Born, raised and still living in the Bronx, Aquino is an actor, who appeared in Law and Order: SVU for three sessions. He also starred in several episodes of the Sopranos. He is the founder and CEO of Advocates for Disabled Americans, Veterans, Police, Fireman & Families. ADA VETs‘s website states that “Aquino is a disabled American, who began advocating for himself and others in 1983, for Social Security claims and other disability rights, such as fair and equal treatment in society, since they were denied him.”
Aquino suffers from polio and a club foot. He has written a book, which will be released next month, called Seasons of Emma based on his experiences as a child with a disability.
Aquino’s life experiences inspired him to be a disability advocate.
“I showed them (the disabled) that they could. It is the ability within that makes you succeed not what anyone says,” said Aquino.
Aquino says he will do what the last two mayors didn’t do.
“I will deal with the homeless crisis and make sure the city never ever sees a homeless veteran on the streets of New York,” said Aquino.
Aquino plans on taking vacant properties around New York and making them into affordable housing to end the homeless crisis. He plans on giving tax credits to contractors who build the housing.
Aquino says that Bloomberg’s behaviors on the homeless disgraced Republicans.
“Our founding father Abraham Lincoln was a man of the people for the people. And I am going to restore the character of the Republican party from New York’s point of view because it is disgraceful what he (Bloomberg) done,” said Aquino.
“Our veterans should never be on the street. I hope to cause a chain reaction around the country because I am going to show them how it can be done- because it is doable. It can be done. We haven’t seen a good mayor since Guiliani.” he added.
Aquino says he will restore New York City’s safety.
“I will deal with crime and reunite communities with law enforcement,” said Aquino.
“I am going to go back into the streets, precinct by precinct. The first year I am giving up half of my pay, and I am going to start the community action fund. My wife is going to surrender her pay. We are going to get that community action fund and revitalize the PAL (Police Athletic League). We are going to utilize the Auxiliary Police. We have the resources, but we aren’t using them. We are going to bring back some of the old policies that worked. When I grew up, everyone knew each other, and the police knew us by name. That was so effective. Under the current and past administrations communities have become divided. We were never as strong as we were on 9/11. I am going to bring back the spirit 9/11 gave us,” he added.
Aquino intends to boost the economy and help small businesses with the Fresh Start Initiative.
The Fresh Start Initiative is a program in which Aquino will give all businesses a “clean slate” from the previous year’s summons and violations given to them before he started his term in office.
Aquino sees Dietl and himself as the two front-runners in the mayoral race.
“The only person capable of dealing with the crime situation is Bo Dietl. That’s why we are going to be the two front-runners. People don’t want a rich guy from Long Island. They don’t want a young kid who lacks experience. I got shirts older than him. We need experience and people who are courageous and ready to face the challenges,” he said.
Link to article in Kings County Politics: http://www.kingscountypolitics.com/aquino-joins-crowded-unknown-republican-field-mayor/