Caribbean pols overwhelmingly re-elected in general elections

Brooklyn Council Member, Rita Joseph.
Brooklyn Council Member, Rita Joseph.
Marc Baptiste Photography

Several Caribbean Democratic legislators were overwhelmingly re-elected or elected unopposed for New York City Council seats in Tuesday’s general elections.

According to preliminary results from New York City’s Board of Elections, incumbent Caribbean candidates in Brooklyn – Farah N. Louis, Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph and Mercedes Nacisse – won their re-election either unopposed or handsomely.

Crystal Hudson.
Crystal Hudson. Crystal Hudson’s campaign

Chris Banks, whose mother is a Trinidadian immigrant, ran unopposed for the 42nd Council District in Brooklyn.

With 304 write-in ballots, or 3.44 percent, Louis, the daughter of Haitian and Bahamian immigrants, was overwhelmingly re-elected to the 45th Council District.

She received 8,524 votes, or 96.56 percent, with 97.74 percent of scanners reported.

In the 35th Council District in Brooklyn, Crystal Hudson – the daughter and granddaughter of Jamaican and Honduran immigrants, who ran on the Democratic Party and Working Families Party’s lines – was re-elected with 1,3448 votes, or 97.31 percent.

There were 372 write-in ballots, or 2.69 percent, with 99.0 percent of the scanners reported.

In the 40th Council District, Haitian-born Joseph, who had taught public schools in Brooklyn for 22 years, also ran on the Democratic and Working Families Party’s lines.

Challenged by Daniel B. Lally, of the Medical Freedom Party, Joseph received 10, 857 votes, or 96.17 percent, to Lally’s 321 votes, or 2.84 percent.

There were 111 write-in ballots, or 0.98 percent, with 99.0 of scanners reported.

Another Haitian-born incumbent, Narcisse, a registered nurse by training, was re-elected in the 46th Council District in a three-way race.

Narcisse was challenged by Republican/Conservative Michael J. Moran  and Adlerette Kebreau of Kebreau 4 Council.

With 69 write-in ballots, or 0.62 percent, Narcisse garnered 7,268 votes or 65.18 percent; Moran received 3,599 votes, or  32.28 percent; and Kebreau only mustered 214 votes, or 1.92 percent.

Newcomer Banks, who had shockingly trounced longtime political figure Charles Barron in the July Primary Elections, received 6, 488 or 98.59 percent, with 93 write-in ballots, or 1.41 percent.

Voters also cast ballots in favor of a proposal to amend removal of small city school districts from special constitutional debt limitation: 358, 955 in favor, or 72.70 percent, with

134, 767 against, or 27.30 percent.

On another proposal on the ballot to amend extending sewage project debt exclusion from debt limit, voters were also in favor, casting 372, 659 ballots, or 75.97 percent in favor to 117, 895 against, or 24.03 percent.

Louis – whose 45th Council District in Brooklyn includes the diverse neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Flatlands and Marine Park – said she has fought for the “affordability and livability of New Yorkers as a champion for fair and affordable housing.”

During her tenure in the New York City Council, she said she has also “prioritized critical legislation to protect survivors of Domestic Violence”; spearheaded policies to improve public safety measures; and launched equitable contract opportunities for Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and nonprofits, and expanded STEM programs in public schools.

In addition, Louis said her staunch advocacy on maternal health and quality mental healthcare, “helped launch a citywide response in underserved communities garnering over $5M in funding.”

As the chairwoman of the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings, and Dispositions, Louis said she seeks to “preserve our city’s cultural institutions, historic neighborhoods, and housing infrastructure, especially in Historic Brooklyn.”

She plans to continue to protect the “rich architecture symbolic of the beauty of New York City that represents our history and cultural diversity”.

Raised in an immigrant and pro-union household, Louis said she will continue to utilize her platform “to tackle social issues to advance fair representation and justice for all.”

Hudson – whose District 35 in Brooklyn represents the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant – was first elected in 2021.

She made history by being one of the first “out-gay” Black women ever elected in New York City.

A community organizer and public servant, Hudson said she is “committed to making government more accessible for more people and delivering a just recovery for all New Yorkers in the wake of a global pandemic, economic crisis and racial reckoning.”

Hudson is chair of the New York City Committee on Aging, and sits on the Committees on Health; Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations; Finance; General Welfare; Housing and Buildings; Rules, Privileges, and Elections; and Standards and Ethics.

She is also co-chair of the LGBTQ Caucus and a member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Progressive Caucus, and Women’s Caucus.

After immigrating to the US from Haiti in her youth, Joseph said she has become “civically engaged and began her life of advocacy.”

In addition to community events, Joseph said she has been a part of many important initiatives that help shape the 40th Council District in Brooklyn.

As an educator by training, Joseph said she has seen “the struggles and triumphs of her students and their families.”

As chair of the City Council’ Education Committee, she said she has been able to provide for schools financially, securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for technological improvements “that help thousands of children receive a better education.”

Having served in the City Council since January 2022, Joseph not only chairs the Committee on Education but also sits on committees related to Civil & Human Rights, Immigration, Hospitals and Public Safety, among others.

In addition, she is also a member of the Progressive Caucus; Women’s Caucus; and Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse speaks to voters on Election Day outside IS 68 in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse speaks to voters on Election Day outside IS 68 in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Photo courtesy Office of Council Member Mercedes Narcisse

Narcisse said she was “profoundly humbled by the trust” that voters in the 46th Council District in Brooklyn “have placed in me to continue serving as their representative in the New York City Council.

“This victory is not mine alone; it belongs to all of us — it is the result of our collective hope, hard work and belief in a shared vision for the future of our community,” she said in her victory speech Tuesday night. “As we close one chapter and open another, I want to take a moment to acknowledge everyone who participated in this democratic process. Whether you cast your vote for me or not, I assure you that I am here to represent every resident of our district. My commitment to being a voice for all remains unwavering.

“The work ahead is clear. I will continue to advance our goals for improved public safety, equitable healthcare, and enhanced quality of life for each person in our community,” she added. “I will do my best to build upon our successes, address our challenges head-on, and work tirelessly to open new doors of opportunity for our children, families and neighbors.”

In the days ahead, Narcisse said she and her staff will be “ready to listen to your concerns, ideas, and aspirations for our district in the coming term.

“Together, we will forge a path of unity and progress,” she said. “To those who supported our campaign—I am grateful. To those who have yet to do so — I am eager to earn your faith and confidence through action and results.

“Tonight, we celebrate not just a victory, but the spirit of our district and the values that bind us together,” Narcisse added. “Tomorrow, we roll up our sleeves and get back to work. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

As a “lifelong resident” of District 42’s East New York, Brooklyn, Banks said he will combine his lived experience and relationships throughout the district in working collaboratively with all stakeholders “to address the issues facing our community.

“The challenges our community faces can be resolved through a collectively shared vision and the creation of partnerships with those who are committed to improving the future of the district we call home,” he said.