Caribbean candidates in big battle for NY district in Democratic Primary

Haitian-American Councilwoman Farah Louis

NEW YORK, JCMC – Last month, Haitian-American Councilwoman Farah Louis won the Special Election for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, New York by a handsome margin.

Now she is preparing to do battle again. This time she is looking to regain the seat in the Democratic Primary schedule for June 25.

She will face some well-known challengers including Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, whom she defeated in the Special Election on May 14.

But some of the other candidates in the Special Election, such as lawyer Jovia Radix and Rickie Tulloch, have opted not to contest the primary.

Radix, the daughter of Barbadian and Grenadian immigrants, has declined to endorse Louis or Chandler-Waterman for the primary; while Jamaican-born Tulloch has thrown his weight behind Chandler-Waterman.

Some of the other unsuccessful candidates in the Special Elections are reportedly contesting the primary.

They include Trinidadian-born community advocate for seniors in Brooklyn Anthony Alexis; Xamayla Rose, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants and trustee for the Brooklyn-based Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign and economist Victor Jordan.

But, from all indications, the June 25 Democratic Primary will be a straight, hard fight between Louis and Chandler-Waterman.

Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that, the day after her “hard-fought Special Election victory,” she went “straight to work.

“I’m honoured that the voters of the 45th district have trusted me to be a steward of our home. After working in the 45th district office in various roles over the last decade, it feels great to be back at City Hall in a role that will allow me to affect change in a more tangible way than ever before.

“I am incredibly thankful for the support of all my endorsers, campaign staff and volunteers. I am confident going into the June 25 primary and ask that the voters allow me to continue to build what we’ve already started together,” she added.

Louis described her platform as “progressive and community-centered,” stating that she wants to “put money back into the district to invest in quality health care, equitable education and more intuitive housing resources with the goal of a 45th that works for everyone.”

She said her campaign has secured several key endorsements in the month since her victory.

Louis said the highest executive in the city and presidential candidate Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced his support of her campaign.

In addition, she said a number of her colleagues in City Hall are among her others supports.

On the New York State level, Louis said her campaign is endorsed by Haitian American Assemblymembers Rodneyse Bichotte, Michaelle Solages, Kimberly Jean-Pierre and Clyde Vanel.

Additionally, her campaign has benefited from the support and input of union leaders and labour organizations. Her latest endorsement comes from the largest health care union in the nation and her own former union, 1199SEIU.

She said several community leaders and organizations, political and otherwise, are “eager to work” with her on “initiatives that improve the district for all constituents.”

Louis said she relishes the “opportunity to engage with the community on a personal level”, stating that she makes “time to speak to constituents in the midst of a busy legislative schedule.”

On June 13, Louis took her oath of office at the City Council and had the opportunity to cast her first vote.

On the other hand, Chandler-Waterman also told CMC that she is “excited about our campaign, the incredible momentum we’ve built and the opportunity to represent our community on the City Council.

“In my travels through the district, the residents have been consistent, they want an activist Councilmember in the Jumaane Williams’ mold,” she said, referring to the district’s former Caribbean American representative, who’s since been elected New York City Public Advocate. Williams is the son of Grenadian immigrants.

“They don’t want Republican supporters of Donald Trump shaping their future, and the future of our community,” added Chandler-Waterman, taking a swipe at Louis, who reportedly was heavily supported by Republicans in the Special Election. The Special Election was open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.

“People are rightly worried about Donald Trump in Washington, when the truth is Donald Trump is right here in the 45th District every day. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency) has been aggressively going through our community since this president took office, and there’s nothing to stop them from being even more aggressive.”

She said local elected officials, political parties and organizations – such as Williams, the Working Families Party, Make The Road, and New York Communities for Change – have supported her “because they know I will champion immigrant issues and never accept the support of those tearing our immigrant families apart.”

In her campaign’s final stretch, Chandler-Waterman said she will “continue to focus on the issues I know matter most to our families – stopping over policing and overdevelopment, protecting immigrant communities and fighting for better public schools.

“I look forward to having Democrats – not Trump Republicans – choose their next City Councilmember on Tuesday, June 25, and I look forward to serving our entire community – as an activist, a mother, a teacher and an organizer – on the City Council,” Chandler-Waterman said.

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