Mark Escoffery-Bey owns and runs a copy store in Morrisania. "It's like Kinkos, but it’s not Kinkos," he says.
The native of Jamaica is also a film-maker and a karaoke host at Bronx bars and restaurants, although both have taken back seat in recent weeks because he's running against, or trying to run against, State Senator Jose M. Serrano.
The 46-year-old Morris Heights resident is, by his own admittance, a long-shot candidate. He has no endorsements and little money, but he feels he's collected enough petition signatures to at least get on the ballot, even if his signatures are challenged. (The deadline for filing is today.) That would be an improvement on the last time he ran for office in 2008, against Councilwoman Helen Foster.
"I made the ballot but then it was challenged and I was taken off," said Mark Escoffery-Bey (pictured above). “I take responsibily for that. I was new to the process and I didn’t know all the little nuances, so my signatures lacked integrity."
This time Escoffery-Bey, a married father of two, believes he has a chance of being elected. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," he said during a telephone interview last week.
He added: “I am so against someone running without challengers... because it's an easy walk in and then they don’t feel like they need to do as much as they should, because it appears to be some kind of gift or right or something they are entitled to. It does not foster a healthy democratic process.”
Not enough is being done to combat poverty in the 28th Senate District (which includes parts of the southwest Bronx and Harlem) Escoffery-Bey said, and Serrano, he insists, hasn't made education or youth programs a priority.
“As a state senator, I would propose a new agenda to fund programs like these,” he said.
Escoffery-Bey is also running for district leader in the 77th Assembly District.
His campaign website is still in the works, but here's a short campaign video, published in 2008 when he was looking to unseat Foster.
As a filmmaker, he says he's best known for the 2006 movie Zero Posterity about a paternity test with a twist.
Photo courtesy of Mark Escoffery-Bey.