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Aspiring Politicos Vie for County Seats

Natasha DillonMeghan Keneally. Natasha Dillon.

It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for New York politicians: the names Weiner and Kruger have recently been added to the list of elected officials who are associated with scandal.

But the roster of players on the state’s political scene is constantly replenishing, and this summer, a handful of aspiring East Village pols are among 90 Manhattanites running for positions at one of the lowest levels of the state’s political hierarchy, the New York County Democratic Committee.

You could be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of the county committee before — its workings are one of the more arcane aspects of state politics. County committees meet roughly once a year and one of their most significant roles is to step in during times of unexpected transition to choose nominees for special elections, such as the Sept. 13 contest to fill Mr. Weiner’s seat.

Natasha Dillon, 26, is one of local candidates running for a seat on the committee. Ms. Dillon has a growing familiarity with the city’s political scene — she recently became a member of Community Board 3 and has long been an activist in the gay and lesbian community — but she wasn’t completely aware of the role of the county committee.

“I know they have some sort of say in nominations of Democratic candidates of special elections, like the Queens County Committee is meeting about Weiner,” she said one recent afternoon before she headed out to petition for the required signatures in order to get her name on the ballot. “It’s a very small commitment.”
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5 Questions With | Natasha Dillon

Natasha DillonNatasha Dillon.

Natasha Dillon thinks she’s boring — but that’s not really the case at all.

Earlier this month, Borough President Scott Stringer announced the newly appointed selections to Community Board 3, which covers the East Village, Lower East Side and parts of Chinatown. Ms. Dillon, a 26-year-old East Villager and gay rights activist, was one of these new appointees, after previously serving on the board as a community member. And while some insist that this crop of new appointees seems rather eclectic, Ms. Dillon insists that she’s actually quite boring.

As a financial consultant, who’s currently working on a master’s degree in investment management from Pace University, Ms. Dillon seems like the average young East Village resident, except this activist and founder of a local East Village advocacy group, Queer Rising, has been arrested four times in the last year for her public actions for marriage equality in the United States. Her most recent arrest came earlier this month, after a group of Queer Rising members blocked traffic near Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Third Avenue for nearly 10 minutes.

However, Ms. Dillon has a somewhat different, slightly less radical, agenda for the East Village. Serving on the economic development committee, her main concern is to bring life back to local businesses — and to the East Village.
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