Photo Credit: Courtesy of the campaign
Donald Cranston (right) with Rabbi Shlomo Braun.

Donald Cranston, who describes himself as a “commonsense Democrat,” is running against Mercedes Narcisse for City Council in southern Brooklyn’s 46th District. He hopes to replace former council member Alan Maisel, whose term is limited.

A lifelong resident of Brooklyn, Cranston has been immersed in the public sector for almost 20 years, beginning at a Board of Education mailroom in 1982. He told The Jewish Press, “I’ve always been public service-minded, and when you see something wrong, you’ve just got to get through the red tape.”


Cranston’s desire to help people is entwined in his DNA. His brother, a detective and 9/11 responder Christopher Cranston, lost his battle with cancer after having been exposed to toxins at Ground Zero.

For two years Cranston worked for Senator Marty Golden, together with former caseworker Rabbi Shlomo Braun, helping to implement the science-based STEM and STEAM program in schools, which he wants to continue.

“We need to expand the minds of our children, especially in technology. That’s where the future jobs are going to be,” Cranston said. He also wants to expand the Gifted and Talented program in public schools, which he advocated for at a rally on Tuesday.

“Mayor DiBlasio threw a grenade on the program by saying he was canceling it…. I would push to expand gifted and talented programs. I’d also look to expand vocational programs… We also need to address the lack of special needs programs and for IEPs (Individualized Education Plans)…I’m a proponent of education – my wife being a school teacher, we talk about it around our dinner table every night.”

School and public safety is another critical area of concern. Cranston stated said, “The NYPD having jurisdiction over school safety is a no-brainer. That needs to be done… It just takes one bad incident.”

He continued, “I have two children who are 12 and 13. It’s a family thing that the kids go to a school in Manhattan for high school. I cannot in good faith put these children on the train every day in the current environment… Without safety, you have nothing.”

Cranston is the only candidate running for City Council in his district who has received endorsements from the NYPD, Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the New York City Detectives Endowment Association (DEA), Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA) and EMS as well as lieutenants and captains, correction captains, deputy wardens, firefighters and sanitation workers.

He described recent legislation, such as removing qualified immunity, as “handcuffing the police.” Cranston proposes building a 1600-bed mental health facility next door to the AMKC Rikers Island jail. “Studies estimate 40 percent of inmates suffer from some sort of mental illness. Let’s evaluate and humanely treat their illness to stop the revolving door…That is where our problems started. The state got rid of the mental health facilities,” he said.

Protecting seniors is another of Cranston’s top priorities. “We need to take a look at their social security,” he stated, “I understand that there’s a six percent increase coming their way. If you look at what’s going on with gas and lumber, six percent might not cut it. We have to sit back with a pen and pencil and figure out how to get services to the seniors.” In terms of medical care, he said, “Sometimes when you become older, you don’t want to know what’s wrong with you. The ‘I don’t know’ leads to more problems. What I would like is an outreach program for preventive care.”

In addition to receiving enthusiastic endorsements from Senator Golden and NYC council member Sal Albanese, Cranston was described by Rabbi Braun, who has known him for over 20 years, said, “I’ve been involved with different candidates for the past 50 years and seldom do you find a candidate like Donald Cranston to really give of himself and to be an outstanding future elected official…I’ve had the pleasure of introducing Mr. Cranston to a considerable number of rabbinic leaders in the 46th District, and all of them were just as impressed with his knowledge, with his concern, his demeanor. He is human and he is there to get the job done.”


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