Caribbean pols victorious in midterm elections

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke addresses Gala 43rd Independence Anniversary Ball of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach, Queens, on Oct. 30.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke addresses Gala 43rd Independence Anniversary Ball of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, Queens, on Oct. 30.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Several Caribbean American legislators in New York were victorious or ran unopposed on Tuesday during the important U.S. midterm elections.
Running on the Democratic and Working Families Parties’ lines, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, won re-election by a landslide, defeating her Conservative challenger Menachem M. Raitport, 70.61 percent to 15.34 percent.
With all 373 of the Election Districts reporting, Clarke – who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, with an overwhelming number of Caribbean nationals – received 111,162 votes to Raitport’s 24,143.
According to New York State Board of Elections, there was a total of 157, 426 ballots; 21,717 were blank, 64 void and 340 write-in.
“I’d like to first and foremost thank the voters of the 9th District of New York for the faith that they have placed in me to be their representative in the 118th Session of Congress,” Clarke told Caribbean Life Tuesday night immediately after she was declared winner.
“I am truly honored to once again to represent my home district, and be the voice of my neighbors and the wonderfully diverse communities that make the 9th District so very special,” she added.
The congresswoman said she remains “fully committed to fight for the rights and dignity of every Brooklynite.
“I remain focused on passing legislation that delivers on the promise of the best that our nation has to offer to our communities,” she said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Biden administration in delivering on that promise.”
In the adjacent 8th Congressional District, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens, with also a heavy concentration of Caribbean immigrants, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries also won by a landslide.
Jeffries received 93,295 votes, or 69.37 percent, to his Republican and Conservative challenger Yuri Dashevsky’s 35,486 votes, or 26.38 percent.
In the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn, including parts of East Flatbush, Canarsie, Crown Heights and Brownsville, New York State Assemblywoman Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, won by a hefty landslide.
Chandler-Waterman — who earlier this year succeeded former New York State Assemblyman, Jamaican Nick Perry, now serving as US Ambassador to Jamaica — resoundingly trounced her namesake, Monique Allen-Davy, who ran on the Republican and Conservative Parties’ lines.
With all 64 Election Districts reporting, Chandler-Waterman received 21,697 votes, or 92.07 percent, to Allen-Davy 1,138, or 4.83 percent. There was a total of 23,567 ballots.
Chandler-Waterman, along with other Caribbean candidate, had urged Caribbean and other residents to go out and vote on Tuesday.

Monique Chandler-Waterman.
Monique Chandler-Waterman.Monique Chandler-Waterman.

“I will not sit idly by and assume I’ve won this Assembly seat,” she said. “The people of the 58th District have seen me on the campaign trail for this election, because I will not take them or their votes for granted.
“Representing a community is a gift you earn,” added the Assemblywoman, who has already made good on campaign promises to create task forces focused on faith leaders, public safety, mental health, quality of life/community and small businesses.
She has also launched a youth ambassador program to build leadership skills and engage young people in community building and expose them to the government.
Chandler-Waterman noted that voting and other rights are being threatened nationwide by Republicans and Conservatives.
Several Caribbean candidates in New York also ran unopposed in Tuesday’s vote.
They included Guyanese-born New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud, who represents the 19th Senate District in Brooklyn; New York State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie, representative for the 20th Senate District in Brooklyn, whose grandmother hailed from Jamaica; and New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn and the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who chairs the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
Others are: New York State Assemblyman Brian A. Cunningham, the son of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn; New York State Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant Forrest, the daughter of Haitian immigrants and whose husband is Jamaican, who represents the 57th Assembly District in Brooklyn; and New York State Assemblywoman Jaime R. Williams, the Trinidadian-born representative for the 59th Assembly District in Brooklyn.
But there were also Caribbean losers in the mid-term elections. With all 76 of the Election Districts reporting in the 46th Assembly District in Brooklyn, incumbent Democrat, Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, lost to Alec Brook-Krasny, running on the Republican and Conservative Parties’ lines.
According to the New York State Board of Elections, Frontus received 13,226 votes, or 46.32 percent, to Brook-Krasny’s 14,023 votes, or 49.11 percent.
There was a total of 28,553 votes, with blank, void and write-in votes.
In the 21st Senate District in Brooklyn, incumbent New York State Senator Kevin Parker, an African American, resoundingly trounced David Alexis, the son of Haitian immigrants, who ran on the Working Families Party’s line.
With all 157 Election District reporting, Democrat Parker received 45,093 votes, or 66.39 percent, to Alexis’s 10,917 votes, or 16.07 percent.
Caribbean nationals also cast ballots with other New Yorkers in voting in favor of four proposals, which would amend New York State Constitution.
The ballot proposals were: Ballot Proposal 1: Clean Water, Clean Air, And Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. This proposal would allow for state bonds to be sold to fund environmental projects.
Ballot Proposal 2: Add a Statement of Values to Guide Government. This proposal would add introductory text, known as a preamble, to the New York City Charter. This preamble would serve as a guiding principle for city government to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.
Ballot Proposal 3: Establish a Racial Equity Office, Plan, and Commission. This proposal would create an Office of Racial Equity, require a citywide Racial Equity Plan every two years, and create a Commission on Racial Equity.
Ballot Proposal 4: Measure the True Cost of Living. This proposal would require the city to measure the actual cost of living for city residents to meet essential needs.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, had urged voters in New York to “flip the ballot to weigh in on critical racial justice proposals.
“It’s possible there’s never been a more important time to make our voices heard with our votes,” he told Caribbean Life. “The three citywide proposals on the ballot this November could make a real, direct, tangible difference in how our city takes on systemic injustices, but New Yorkers need to show up and vote on them. When you go to the polls, remember to flip the ballot.”
The Public Advocate previously encouraged New Yorkers to “flip the ballot” and vote on the ballot proposals during a hearing of the City Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights.
“If these proposals pass, we will be able to move towards an equitable and just city,” he said. “This will bring new opportunities to those who have disproportionately been negatively impacted for generations.”
Clarke had also appealed to the Caribbean community to vote in Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
“My work in only amplified if you go out and do what?” asked Clarke in addressing the Gala 43rd Independence Anniversary Ball of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Russo’s on the Bay in the Howard Beach section of Queens.
Patrons responded resoundingly: “Vote!”
“There are those who want to discourage you from voting,” the congresswoman added. “When we vote, we do what? We win.
“Get it together,” Clarke added. “Reach out to everyone; and, on Nov. 8, let us unleash a power, so they don’t have to ask.”

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