Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s son, Yoni, jumps in race for City Councilman David Greenfield’s seat 

Yoni Hikind

Looks like there will be a race for Councilman David Greenfield's seat after all.

Yoni Hikind — son of Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a political rival of Greenfield's — is jumping in the race as an independent candidate, he told the Daily News.

"I want people to appreciate and understand that democracy means their right to have a choice," Hikind said. "I look at this as a job interview."

Greenfield announced last month he not would run for re-election and would instead become the CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. But he made it public after the deadline for candidates to get on the primary ballot — clearing the way for Kalman Yeger, an ally of Greenfield's, to take his spot on the Democratic ballot. Yeger was appointed by a committee to fill vacancies controlled by Greenfield.

Hikind's name has since come up repeatedly as a potential challenger — sometimes floated by his father. But while many insiders will see the younger Hikind's challenge to Yeger as a proxy war between his dad and Greenfield, the new candidate dismissed that as "inside baseball."

"There are people who know my father and know that's not what it's about for them and people who know me and know that that's certainly not what it's about for me," he said. "There's (an) open seat which is now going to have a race as opposed to no one opposing Mr. Yeger, and there's someone named Yoni Hikind who wants the voters to have the choice about who will represent them in the Council."

Hikind said he will begin collecting petitions Wednesday, to run on his own line called "Our Neighborhood."

His entry comes into the race after good government groups criticized the timing of Greenfield's departure.

Hikind, 36, of Midwood, has his master's in social work and has worked as a counselor — and said he sees elected office as another way to help people on a larger scale.

The younger Hikind also held a part-time spot in the Assembly, that his dad admitted to The News he'd helped secure — which paid little but involved just enough hours for Yoni Hikind to get health insurance, which was not offered at the yeshiva where he worked at the time.

Hikind said he took the job, with Assemblyman Peter Abbate, to learn more about politics — to "get my feet wet, not just being my father's son."

While he admits he'll look to his dad for advice "every once in a while," Hikind said he'd be running as his own candidate.

"I laid down the ground rules for my father when I made this decision and I told him, 'I'll call you when I want to ask you a question,'" he said. "This is my campaign and he really respects that and he understands the need for me to do it."

The Yeger campaign did not immediately comment on Hikind's plans to enter the race.

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