Haitian American District Leader for the 42nd State Assembly District in Brooklyn, Rodneyse Bichotte, is confident that she will win the seat vacated by the retired Rhoda Jacobs.
“I have the best chance winning because I have been a district leader for the past four years,” Bichotte told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview over the weekend.
“As district leader, I’ve built wide-ranging partnerships with business leaders and elected officials to increase opportunity for the people of AD42,” added Bichotte, referring to the 42nd Assembly District that comprises the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Flatbush Gardens, Midwood, Prospect Park South and Terrace Gardens.
She said she has partnered with Flatbush Tenants Coalition to make affordable housing “a reality for the people of this district,” stating that she wants to be “their voice in Albany.
“I know what it’s like not to have an advocate,” said Bichotte, the first Haitian American woman to hold elective office in New York City. “This ordeal has transformed me into the fighter that I am today.
“No candidate has been more focused on economic development, job opportunity for the Assembly district than me,” she added, stating that the coalition of support and endorsement she has received includes that of Mayor Bill deBlasio.
Bichotte said the mayor’s endorsement is “a testament to my proven leadership in the district.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Bichotte said her “steadfast devotion to providing resources” in the district is demonstrated through her “ongoing involvement in the community,” including delivering on the rehabilitation of Haiti by volunteering to help build 100 homes through Habitat for Humanity with President Jimmy Carter.
She said she is proud of her Haitian-American roots. Her father was the lead saxophonist of legendary Haitian jazz band, “Jazz Des Jeunes”; while her mother is considered to be a “matriarch” in the Haitian Caribbean community.
Both of Bichotte’s parents were union members. Her mother is currently a retired member of the Hotel Trade Council Local 6 union. She worked as a housekeeper for 30 years.
Bichotte said she has been a dedicated public servant for over 20 years, and have continuously worked on a number of initiatives on education.
She said she has lobbied against cuts in special education programs and funding for public schools.
Bichotte said she has also lobbied against tuition increase and universal Pre-K, busing residence in the Flatbush community – parents, seniors and students – to lobby Republican senators to vote for funding for full-day universal Pre-K.
She said her lobbying efforts in Albany and Washington also included issues on affordable housing and healthcare, minimum wage, the Dream Act, jobs and against hydro-fracking.
As a district leader, Bichotte said she has facilitated and sponsored a number of community events in Flatbush, such as the first Voter’s Forum, promoting fair elections and voters’ rights; held the largest mayoral and other candidate forum/debate in Brooklyn; conducted an annual senior luncheon; launched safety street initiatives; and held the largest funding forum in Brooklyn to help clergy and non-profit organizations get government funding.
Bichotte’s work experience includes public school mathematics teacher, and an engineer and finance manager.
She is the co-founder of the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club in Brooklyn and is an alumnus of the White House Project from Brooklyn College.
While living in Chicago, Bichotte served on President Obama’s then U.S. senatorial campaign with the Will County Democratic Club.
She was then selected to be an Obama Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012 by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Bichotte said she continuously partners with the elected officials in her district, such as Councilman Jumaane Williams, State Sen. Kevin Parker, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, among others, on social and economic initiatives.
Besides Mayor deBlasio, Bichotte is enodorsed by, among others, Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James; NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; Congressmembers Yvette D. Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries; former City Councilmember Dr. Una S.T. Clarke; Assemblymembers Karim Camara, Nick Perry, Annette Robinson, Michaelle Solages, Keith Wright and Walter Mosely;City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams, Robert Cornegy, Laurie Cumbo and Vanessa Gibson.
She has also received a large number of clergy and union endorsements, including 1199SEIU; 32BJ; CSA; RWDSU; TWU local 100; Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater NY; Teamsters Joint Council 16; Tenants PAC; UAW HAAPA-PAC; and NYLCV Organization Staff Analysts.
Bichotte holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from SUNY Buffalo, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from IIT and an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.