Brooklyn Democratic Council Member Haitian American Farah Louis is celebrating her first anniversary after winning the Special Election to replace then Council Member Grenadian American Jumaane Williams, who has since become New York City Public Advocate.
“One year ago, ‘#AUnited45’ showed up at the polls for a special election to cast their ballots in support of me becoming the next Council Member of the 45th District in Brooklyn,” said Louis in a message to constituents on Monday. “Thank you for your vote of confidence and entrusting me as the people’s choice to advocate for the resources that our community deserves to thrive.”
Louis said her journey on the campaign trail to City Hall was “a true representation of how diverse people, across cultures and faiths can work together to uplift one another.
“It was an unforgettable experience that I will forever cherish, because it reminds me every day that the impossible is possible,” she said. “Together, we have the power to shape our future.”
Louis said this past year was “extraordinarily challenging, as we grappled with gun violence, advocated for rent stabilization and housing affordability, fought for pedestrian safety, and, presently, a global health pandemic.”
But, despite these circumstances, she said she remains “undeterred, because of our collective strength and profound sense of community – in the best and worst of times.”
As she reflected on her accomplishments, during her first year in elective office, Louis said she was “excited by the milestones that are on the horizon and look forward to celebrating with all of you.”
In the Special Election a year ago, on May 14, 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, defeated seven other candidates in the intense race. Most of the candidates were either born in the Caribbean or are of Caribbean heritage.
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 percent of the votes.
Louis, who was not endorsed by Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, received 3,861 votes, or 41.8 percent, of the 9,200 votes cast on the rainy day.
Louis’s closest challenger, Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, who was endorsed by Williams, received 2,790 votes, or 30 percent.
Chandler-Waterman 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 percent. 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 then at the Haitian-owned Juicy Box, a restaurant and lounge on Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
“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 tonight’s outcome,” added Louis flanked by elected officials and Haitian and Jewish community leaders.
“I promise to be a good steward of our resources,” she continued. “I promise to listen. I promise to do all that I can to build a Brooklyn we can be proud of.”
In her second election victory in June, just less than six weeks after her Special Election triumph, Louis again defeated her Democratic Party Primary Election challenger Chandler-Waterman.
Louis trounced Chandler-Waterman by 10 percentage points, almost the same margin as in the Special Election for the seat on May 14.
In essentially a two-way race, Louis received 51.69 percent of the votes cast in the Primary to Chandler-Waterman’s 41.36 percent.
Then, in November, in her third election victory in just less than six months, Louis won the New York General Elections for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, winning by a massive landslide.
Louis received 12, 910 votes, or 93.10 percent, to her nearest challenger, Anthony Beckford’s 652 votes, or 4.7 percent. Republican David Fite received 298 votes, or 2.2 percent.
“I knew that there was the fire in me,” Louis told jubilant supporters then at her victory party at the Kache Restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. “God was unifying me to bring everyone together from Day One.
“I was the best person for the job,” she added. “He sent people on the front line to work with me. This campaign could’ve been relatively short and sweet, but I believe this journey was long and strenuous, because I had to prove to my community, God and myself how bad I wanted this. And the efforts of my supporters, partners and allies had to dictate how hard you’ll work at it.”
Louis noted that “A Unified 45, the mantra that guided this campaign, has become reality.
“For others, who frowned upon the vision God gave me and my peers, I believe now they understand the value of respecting an individual’s ethnicity, race, culture and religion and, core values,” she said.
“God sent me a few warriors who have been told in the past you aren’t, you couldn’t and shouldn’t but they did,” Louis added.
“The best part of this story is that the warriors didn’t look like me; we didn’t come from the same places or have the same family structures,” she continued. “The common denominator was that we all had a heart to serve the community, to serve them well and to do it together. I lean on them because they came before me, they understand.
“This victory is ours!” Louis exclaimed. “Let’s continue to be a Unified 45.”
Those “warriors” were primarily members of the Jewish community in Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
Some of them are legislators who serve alongside Louis in the City Council and were on hand to heap praise on her overwhelming triumph.