Though she won the Special Election on May 14 for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn by a handsome margin, Haitian-American Councilwoman, Farah Louis is again in a strong fight to regain the seat in the Democratic Primary on June 25.
Louis is once more challenged by first runner-up in the Special Election, Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants.
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 are: 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; and economist Victor Jordan.
But, from all indications, the Jun. 25 Democratic Primary will be a straight, hard fight between Louis and Chandler-Waterman.
In an exclusive interview over the weekend, Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told Caribbean Life that the day after her “hard-fought Special Election victory,” she went “straight to work.”
“I’m honored that the voters of the 45th district have trusted me to be a steward of our home,” Louis said. “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,” she added. “I am confident going into the Jun. 25 primary and ask that the voters allow me to continue to build what we’ve already started together.”
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 her colleagues in City Hall, Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Justin Brannan, Chaim Deutsch, Kalman Yeger, Rafael Espinal, Diana Ayala, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Vanessa Gibson, Robert Cornegy, Jr. and Keith Powers are among others supporting her.
Community leaders who have lent their support to Louis’ re-election campaign include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Democratic Party Leader Frank Seddio, District Leaders Lori Maslow, Doug Schneider, Sue Ann Partnow, David Schwartz, Lori Knipel and Ari Kagan.
On the state level, Louis said her campaign is endorsed by Assemblymembers Rodneyse Bichotte, Helene Weinstein, Jaime Williams, Michaelle Solages, Kimberly Jean-Pierre and Clyde Vanel, and Senator James Sanders, Jr.
Additionally, Louis said her campaign has benefited from the support and input of union leaders and labor organizations. Her latest endorsement comes from the largest health care union in the nation and her own former union, 1199SEIU.
Louis is also endorsed by UFT, PSC-CUNY, Local 372 DC 37, Teamsters Local 237, Public Employees Federation, PBA, CWA Local 1109, Supreme Court Officers Association, RWDSU Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, SBA, Local 1407 DC 37, CWA 1180, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, and Alliance of South Asian Labor.
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.”
Endorsers include Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, Brooklyn Young Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and Bay Democrats.
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 stated meeting and had the opportunity to cast her first vote.
She said she is “eager to continue the work” she’s begun as the elected representative of the 45th City Council District, adding that she’s “hit the ground running” and expects to “keep momentum up” until the Democratic Primary.
On the other hand, Chandler-Waterman also told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, 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 (President) Donald Trump in Washington, when the truth is Donald Trump is right here in the 45th District every day,” Chandler-Waterman continued. “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.”
Furthermore, Chandler-Waterman said homeowners and renters “see development and gentrification happening right before their eyes and are in fear of being pushed out and not being able to live in our community because of developers and real estate interests.”
“I will not sell my community for a City Council seat, and that is the message people are responding to,” she said. “I have been lucky to receive the maximum from the public matching funds program because I relied on my community to support my campaign – not developers, not Republican Trump voters and not the police union.”
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’m proud of the support I’ve earned from our Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Senators Kevin Parker and Zellnor Myrie, (Jamaican-born) Assemblyman Nick Perry and so many progressive groups that are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party,” she said.
“I look forward to having Democrats – not Trump Republicans – choose their next City Councilmember on Tuesday, June 25,” Chandler-Waterman added. “And I look forward to serving our entire community – as an activist, a mother, a teacher and an organizer – on the City Council.”