Diamondstone plans Council run - local activist announces bid for Yassky’s 33rd District seat

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Ken Diamondstone jumped out of the frying pan just so he could step into a fire that won’t heat up for another few months.

The longtime Brooklyn Heights activist, who had recently mulled over another run against incumbent State Senator Martin Connor, announced Tuesday he’s now setting his sights on the City Council.

He said he plans to run for David Yassky’s 33rd Council District seat. Yassky will be forced to step down at the end of 2009 because of term limits.

“I’m launching this campaign for City Council because the hard-working people and families of Brooklyn can’t wait any longer for good government,” Diamondstone said in a statement. “Now is the time to take back Brooklyn. I’m going to fight for the bold progressive reform we need to protect our neighborhoods and help them flourish.”

His gauntlet firmly thrown, Diamondstone enters a possible six-person race that already includes Yassky’s former aide Evan Thies and Democratic District Leader Jo Anne Simon. Other candidates for the seat include Kenneth Baer and Stephen Levin, according to the city’s Board of Elections. Issac Abrahamson is also reportedly running, although his name isn’t on the Board of Elections website.

Diamondstone says that he wants to make history by “becoming Brooklyn’s first openly gay representative to any legislative body in New York State.”

“To solve the big problems we have before us we need a new kind of leader,” he said. “We need a transformative leader, a leader who is not afraid of putting an end to politics as usual, and a leader who will take the power out of the hands of the few and return it to all our citizens. I will be that leader.”

The first openly gay legislator in New York State was Tom Duane in Manhattan.

This would be Diamonstone’s second bid for this particular City Council seat. He lost to Yassky in 2001.

He then made a bid for State Senate against Connor in 2006, which he lost after a grueling legal battle to get on the ballot.

Earlier this year, Diamondstone was considering a second showdown against Connor, but opted to step aside to give newcomer Daniel Squadron a better shot at taking the seat in a one on one primary.

Squadron supporters from the Lambda Independent Democrats – which Diamondstone is a member – encouraged him to step away from the race, but the club ended up endorsing Connor anyway.

As he launched his campaign, Diamondstone announced his first fundraiser for the seat, which is being hosted by retired Rep. Major Owens.

But he’s not the only candidate lining their financial nest.

On the same day Diamondstone announced his run, Simon sent out invitations to her first fundraiser.

She also released a list of the members in her “Honorary Campaign Host Committee” which included Senator Connor, State Senator Eric Adams Assemblymembers James Brennan and Joan Millman and City Councilmember Letitia James.

The 33rd Councilmanic district encompasses Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and parts of Park Slope.

Updated 3:48 pm, October 19, 2011
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