NEW YORK, CMC – A Haitian American has emerged victorious in a crowded field in a special election to fill the seat vacated by former New York City Caribbean American Councilman Jumaane Williams, who was recently elected New York City Public Advocate.
Farah Louis wins
Farah Louis, who was born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants and served as deputy chief-of-staff and budget director for Williams in the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, Tuesday defeated seven other candidates in the intense race.
With the strong backing of the Haitian and Jewish communities in Brooklyn, and support from many elected officials and labor unions, Louis garnered over 41 per cent of the votes, with 99 per cent of precincts reporting, according to New York City Board of Elections (BOE).
The BOE in the preliminary figures released on Tuesday night, said Louis, who was not endorsed by Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, received 3,861 votes, or 41.8 per cent, of the 9,200 votes cast on the rainy day.
Jamaican American finishes second
Louis’s closest challenger, Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, received 2,790 votes, or 30 per cent.
Chandler-Waterman, who was endorsed by Williams, served as the former councilman’s community outreach director in the district that comprises the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie.
Lawyer Jovia Radix, the daughter of Barbadian and Grenadian immigrants, placed third, receiving 849 votes, or 9.1 per cent.
Radix, a former Brooklyn regional director for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, is the daughter of Grenadian-born dentist Dr. Joseph Radix and Barbadian-born Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix. They all reside in Brooklyn.
The other candidates in the special election were: Jamaican-born senior director at New York City Health + Hospitals Rickie Tulloch; 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, which directs youth services; economist Victor Jordan; and Adina Sash, a small business owner and community activist in Brooklyn.
“This campaign has shown me the beauty, resiliency and power of this district,” Louis told jubilant supporters at her victory party late Tuesday night.
“Every person who contributed, every person who volunteered, every person who voted, and every person who offered a word of encouragement played an integral part in (the) outcome,” added Louis flanked by elected officials and Haitian and Jewish community leaders.
“I promise to be a good steward of our resources. I promise to listen. I promise to do all that I can to build a Brooklyn we can be proud of.”
Louis, who had the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio, Borough President Eric Adams and Haitian American New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, will serve out the remainder of Williams’s term, which runs through 2021.
Democratic primary – June 25
But she reminded supporters that she will first have to triumph in the Democratic Party primary on June 25 and the general election in November.
“We won by fighting. Let’s join together. We have another race on June 25.”
More than 188,000 people live in the 45th Council District, of which about 61 per cent are either Caribbean American or African American.
On the campaign trail, Louis had said that the district needed “a staunch advocate” to fight against “systemic inequality affecting our housing, education, businesses and healthcare.”
Esteemed community organizer
She told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that she is “an esteemed community organizer and publicist with over 15 years of experience and dedication to advocacy and public service.”
She said public service, workers’ rights and community empowerment are passions that she inherited from her family.
Prior to her time at the New York City Council, Louis said she spent eight years as a mental health professional and healthcare administrator in Brooklyn, during which she was an active 1199 union member.
Along with her service in the City Council, Louis said she successfully launched a number of aggressive grassroots initiatives with various city agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses.