Kavanagh says he’s running to fill Lopez’s Council seat


By Lincoln Anderson

Brian Kavanagh is putting out the word that he plans to run for City Council in the district now represented by Margarita Lopez. Lopez must give up the District 2 seat — which includes the East Village, Lower East Side, Gramercy and Murray Hill — after 2005 due to term limits.

Until recently, Kavanagh was on the staff of City Councilmember Gale Brewer (Upper West Side/Clinton), serving as her chief of staff and general counsel.

“I haven’t done a formal event — but I am a full-fledged candidate,” he assured.

Thirty-seven years old, the Staten Island native has lived exclusively in Council District 2 since settling in Manhattan 14 years ago, though not always at the same location. From 1989-’94 he lived on Forsyth St. between Stanton and Houston Sts. He said he originally moved to Forsyth St. because for several summers he had been a counselor and co-director of summer programs for the nearby Nativity Mission Center.

Currently he lives on E. 29th St. and Second Ave. in the Murray Hill area. He has also resided at 23rd St. and Sixth Ave.

Kavanagh attended Regis High School on the Upper East Side. He has a degree in politics from Princeton and a law degree from New York University School of Law. He worked in the administration of former Mayor Ed Koch at the tail end of Koch’s last term, continuing working in the mayor’s office under former Mayor David Dinkins.

He’s single. Asked his sexual orientation, he said he’s heterosexual.

Three months ago, Democratic District Leader Rosie Mendez, Lopez’s former counsel and chief of staff, kicked off her campaign for the open seat. Lopez and Mendez are both openly lesbian. Another name mentioned as a likely candidate is Mildred Martinez, a resident of Campos Plaza in the East Village. Gerard Schriffen, a former assistant district attorney and teacher from Midtown East Plaza, has also been mentioned.

Describing himself as a “progressive Democrat,” Kavanagh said, if elected, he would focus on delivering city and government services to the district.

“I’d love to see dramatic improvements in capital spending in the district, renovations of libraries and schools,” he said. At the same time, he said, he’s interested in big issues and policies, such as affordable housing, though he added — “I’m not suggesting a major new development project on the Lower East Side. I want the system to function better.”