It's official: political aide Gustavo Rivera, whose most recent gig was in the office of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as an outreach director, announced his candidacy yesterday for the 33rd State Senate district.
That makes him the third person to challenge embattled State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. He's now in the running against lawyer and Community Board 8 member Daniel Padernacht and community activist Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter.
"What we're talking about is accountability, transparency," Rivera said in a phone interview. "However long Mr. Espada has been in government, he has not been as committed to public service as he needs to be. It's about restoring trust in government. It's about making sure we can have somebody in government who is going to be responsive to the needs of the citizens."
Rivera wrapped up his job at Senator Gillibrand's office on Friday, where he'd worked since last May, to pursue his campaign, he said. He's campaigned for a number of other politicians, including Bronx pols Jose M. Serrano, Melissa Mark-Viverito and former Borough President Freddy Ferrar. He also worked for now-President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign in Illinois.
In a statement, Councilwoman Mark-Viverito said she was getting behind Rivera: “Gustavo has a proven track record of electing progressive candidates, forging coalitions to ensure accountability in law making and most importantly is in touch with the voters throughout the Bronx, especially in the 33rd District.”
He's also garnered support from Council Members Annabel Palma and Jumaane D. Williams, according to a press release.
Meanwhile, contender Pilgrim-Hunter continues her fundraising efforts, according to the Daily News' Celeste Katz, with two events planned over the next few weeks.