Heard Around Town: Battle brews for Vacca's Bronx seat

Heard Around Town: Battle brews for Vacca's Bronx seat

Heard Around Town: Battle brews for Vacca's Bronx seat
October 27, 2015

New York City Councilman James Vacca still has more than 2 years before he’s term-limited out of his Bronx seat, but at least one person interested in succeeding him is gearing up for a run already, with a “toast of a new era.”

John Doyle, who works in public relations at Jacobi Medical Center, has organized a mid-November fundraiser at the D.A. Beach Club to support his exploratory City Council committee. Admission, which includes wine and beer, starts at $50 for guests and rises to $500 for hosts, according to the invitation.

Doyle, who serves as treasurer for City Councilman Ritchie Torres’ campaign, said he is interested in running because he wants to ensure the district is in able hands.

“It’s very important that our area is represented by someone with a history of involvement, but also has a record of getting things done,” he said. “I’m familiar with the district and the issues people have.”

Doyle worked as director of community affairs for state Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein and has worked or volunteered on campaigns for fellow conference members Sens. David Carlucci and David Valesky, Torres and former state Sen. Brian Foley. He’s also an officer with the City Island Civic Association and 45th Precinct Community Council.

When asked about the district’s needs, Doyle said he would seek to bring more transparency to governance, including everything from land use decisions to instituting participatory budgeting. He said he would not be seeking Vacca’s endorsement.

“Like any other one [Vacca’s tenure], its got ups and downs,” said Doyle, 29. “Overall, he’s been a decent representative. But I think people are looking for something new. If you look at the Council now, there’s a new, young dynamic.”

Vacca declined to comment.

When asked about endorsements from the Bronx Democratic County Committee, Klein and Torres, Doyle said he’d gladly accept them, but was mostly focused on winning over voters. The party, Klein and Torres all could not be immediately reached for comment or declined to discuss the matter.

Others said to be eying Vacca’s district in 2017 including his chief of staff Michael Rivadeneyra, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, Alex Gomez, a program director at a supportive housing non-profit who has declared his candidacy, and Egidio Sementilli, a frequent candidate.

Sarina Trangle