A Guyanese legislator in Brooklyn handsomely beat her Haitian-born challenger to win the New York Democratic Primary elections on Tuesday.
New York state Senator Roxanne Persaud, who represents the 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, soundly beat Mercedes Narcisse, in a district that was previously represented by Guyanese American lawyer John Sampson.
The district covers the Brooklyn districts of Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill and Starrett City.
Persaud received 9,986 ballots to Narcisse’s 3,160, according to preliminary results, with just 13,526 of the district’s 121,220 registered Democrats voting in the primary.
“Great!” exulted Persaud about the results in a Caribbean Life interview at her victory party in Canarsie. “I was hoping to win by 70 percent.
“It shows that hard work pays off,” she added. “People had assumed that, because my candidacy was endorsed by the country (Brooklyn), it would be easy. I was there in the community working hard.
“It’s all about the needs of the community,” she added. “Right here, we have a fantastic team. They are the people who did what was necessary for me to represent the entire district.”
Over the weekend, several Haitian American New York State legislators threw their support behind Persaud over their compatriot.
New York State Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte, Michaelle Solages and Kimberly Jean-Pierre endorsed incumbent Persaud.
“It has been important for us to join with other legislators to ensure that the Haitian community gets its fair share of funds for housing, good schools, and safe streets,” they said in a joint statement. “This is why we have come together to endorse a dear friend and colleague who we have witnessed her work and trust that she will continue to deliver in our fight for a better quality of life.
“The Haitian community in New York City, Long Island and other parts of New York State has become a vibrant political force,” they added. “Each of us now serve in important capacities in the state and city level. In this capacity, we have been strong advocates for our people and have fought hard for the special needs our community requires.”
The Haitian American legislators said Persaud has “stood in the fight to raise minimum wage, improve our children’s education, implement better staffing for nurses, support our seniors, make our streets safer and backed the Paid Family Leave Act. “
“Senator Persaud makes a difference,” they said. “She has been a longtime community activist.”
Bichotte, the first ever Haitian from New York City to be elected to New York State Assembly, also won her seat Tuesday night in the Democratic Primary.
She soundly beat challenger Victor Jordan in the 42nd Assembly District Brooklyn, capturing captured 2,305 votes to Jordan’s 600.
There was no contest for Trinidadian-born Jaime Williams, who represents the 59th Assembly District in Brooklyn.
Williams, Persaud’s former chief-of-staff, had won the Special Election in April in the seat that was vacated by Persaud, so she could contest the 19th Senatorial seat.
Even with no opponent, Williams, the first Trinidadian-American to win a seat in New York State, will still appear on the ballot in the November Presidential elections.
“Even though you are not facing any opponent, you can’t take anything for granted,” Williams told Caribbean Life at Persaud’s victory party Tuesday night. “It makes me, as the assembly member, to work hard for the community.”