Vote 2017: 13th District City Council seat

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As Primary Day inches closer, the race for the 13th Council District in the Bronx is taking shape as a hot one to follow.

Voters will choose between five different democratic candidates in the primary race. The district includes more than a dozen neighborhoods, including City Island and Pelham Bay.

John Doyle, a lifelong Bronx resident who has previously worked in politics, is looking to represent the district in the City Council. When it comes to transportation improvements, he wants to modernize the traffic flow at Pelham Bay station and fight to secure park-and-rides near the planned Morris Park Metro-North station. He says he will also push for the new NYC ferry service to come to the 13th District.

Another main goal for Doyle is continuing efforts to expand the police force and "civilianize" jobs within the precincts so police are out in the streets and within communities, protecting neighborhoods. He is also campaigning on pushing City Hall to make more improvements to protect coastal communities from the next major storm and address climate change here at home.

Also vying for the nomination is Mark Gjonaj, an assemblyman in District 80 who is no stranger to politics. On education, he wants to tackle overcrowded classrooms by getting students out of trailers, increasing school seats and creating more community schools. He also wants to make streets safer, saying police precincts need additional officers, and he says he'll fight to bring attention to what he calls a recent uptick in drug crimes in the 45th Precinct so it can't be ignored.

When it comes to quality of life improvements, Gjonaj wants to develop a plan to protect the shoreline, lower water and sewer rates for homeowners, and keep commercial corridors viable.

Victor R. Ortiz is another Bronx resident looking to win the primary. He says he graduated from Lehman College in 1988. Education is a main priority of his, as he teaches in the Bronx, helping young adults obtain degrees. When it comes to quality of life issues, Ortiz says he is dedicated to the safety and well-being of children, elderly and the underprivileged.

Ortiz also touts his recreational projects through the years, like designing the first BMX freestyle bike and skate park in the borough.

Another name of the ballot is Egidio Sementilli. On housing, he opposes the mayor's plan to build more homeless shelters in the city and feels the solution is to build senior housing and affordable market rate apartments, not supportive housing. On the topic of police he also says his views are different from the mayor's -- he says the community needs "quality of life enforcement" and police officers must be hired to make the streets safer, quiet and cleaner.

Sementilli is also a big union supporter, and vows to stop any efforts by the city to privatize union jobs, saying that would destroy the middle class.

And rounding out the race is Marjorie Velázquez, who was born in the Bronx and switched from the life of corporate finance to public service. To improve education, she seeks to create better public schools with more talented and gifted programs, more after-school programs, and increased safety for kids.

On transportation, Velázquez has the goal of increasing service and reliability for subways and express buses, and launching new ferries in the borough.

Protecting tenants is also on her agenda: she wants to keep rents and property taxes affordable and lower water rates.

Primary Day is Sept. 12.

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