Musician Brannan Mulls
Run To Unseat Republican
By Harold Egeln
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BAY RIDGE – Tuning up a possible campaign run to be the Democratic Party candidate to unseat long-serving Republican state Sen. Marty Golden in southwest Brooklyn is rock guitarist, voice actor, fundraiser and webmaster Justin Lee Brannan.
He pitched his cause for grassroots leadership change and Albany reform at a recent meeting of the Brooklyn Democrats for Change in Bay Ridge, a candidates’ night that included Democrat candidate Mike DiSanto, who had spoken to the progressive Democratic club earlier this year, in the audience.
“We need a new brand of invigorated leadership,” said Brannan, 31, a founding member of Indecision and Most Precious Blood, rock bands that have toured the country and world. He noted that he “sees great changes in the community. We need an advocate, not a politician with an insatiable ego. We need new leadership in the face of a dysfunctional state government in Albany.”
Golden, a former business leader and police officer, was a City Council member from 1997 until October 2002, when he defeated incumbent state Vincent Gentile. Gentile went on to win the vacated council post in a special election in February 2003 by a narrow margin over the GOP candidate, the late Rosemarie O’Keefe.
Golden has since remained unchallenged in senate elections by Democrats, winning Republican, Democratic, Conservative and independent voters. Last year, president Kevin Carroll of Brooklyn Democrats for Change warned Golden that he will not go unchallenged in 2010 in the 22nd State Senate District, which covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Marine Park and Gravesend.
“It’s refreshing to see candidates stepping forward,” said Carroll in introducing Brannan, whom he said is “exploring a run against Golden.”
Declared Democratic candidates are NYU graduate student DiSanto of Gravesend and high school coach and gym teacher Claudio DeMeo of Bensonhurst, a 2001 graduate of Brooklyn College. They face a Democratic Party primary election on Sept. 14.
“Albany politicians fought to maintain their power. It’s time to reform Albany,” Brannan said. “When I look at Marty Golden, I see a legislator resting on laurels. Yes, he has delivered for our community.” That was a reference to a stream of state funding for schools, senior centers and civic causes.
“But Marty Golden represents provincial Bay Ridge. I represent progressive Bay Ridge,” Brannan told his standing room audience in the packed seating room. “I have a background in business, media and international affairs. I can bring common-sense solutions that New York so desperately needs now.”
When asked about his Bay Ridge roots, the potential candidate said he was born there and graduated P.S. 185, McKinley I.S. and Xaverian High School. He also studied journalism at the College of Staten Island and Fordham University.
“I am a music professor, a musician, a financier on Wall Street and [I] raise money for a charity,” Brannan informed the audience, which also included a few Republicans and independents. He has worked for Bear Stearns, Bankers Trust, the Bank of New York and WNEW-FM (as a commercial announcer).
Brannan is the president of the Council on Government Transparency. He is also the new communications director for the Dyker Heights Civic Association. In addition, he is known as an ardent vegetarian.
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