Chandler-Waterman wins Special Election by landslide

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Caribbean American community activist Monique Chandler-Waterman.
Campaign of Monique Chandler-Waterman

Caribbean American community activist Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, on Tuesday won by a landslide the Special Election for the seat vacated by former New York State Assembly Member N. Nick Perry, who, earlier this month, was sworn-in as the new United States Ambassador to Jamaica.

Perry, who had represented the 58th New York State Assembly District in Brooklyn for about three decades, along with Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, had thrown their full support behind Chandler-Waterman.

According to preliminary results, released Tuesday night, by New York City’s Board of Elections, Chandler-Waterman convincingly beat two challengers in the very low voter-turnout poll of 72,865 registered voters. A total of 2,401 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s vote.

With all 86 of the Election Districts reporting, Chandler-Waterman, who contested the elections on the Democratic Party and Working Families Party’s lines, received 1, 896 votes, or 78.97 percent.

Her strongest opponent, Hercules E. Reid — another community activist and son of Jamaican immigrants, running on the Education is Key line — was a very distant second, receiving only 431 votes, or 17.95 percent.

Monique Allen-Davy, running on the Republican Party and Conservative Party’s line, received only 55 votes, or 2.29 percent.

The Board of Elections said there were two write-in ballots, and 17 ballots were voided.

Results from early voting, which began two Saturdays ago, are yet to be tabulated.

“There is no one better suited to continue Assemblyman Nick Perry’s dedicated service to this community than Monique Chandler-Waterman,” said Congresswoman Clarke on Tuesday, in endorsing Chandler-Waterman.

“The challenges that lie ahead require a community-focused approach to ensure we fully recover from the pandemic, keep our streets safe, and our children educated and connected to the resources they need to thrive and keep Brooklyn strong,” added Clarke, who represents the primarily Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.  

“Monique has dedicated her life to community service and will be the champion in Albany (New York State capital) that the residents of East Flatbush, Canarsie, Crown Heights and Brownsville (in Brooklyn) need,” the congresswoman continued.

New York State Assemblywoman Latrice M. Walker, who represents Brownsville, also endorsed Chandler-Waterman on Tuesday.

“Now more than ever, we need leadership in Albany that understands the lived experiences of the communities we represent,” said Walker, an African American. “With Monique Chandler-Waterman, the residents of the 58th Assembly District will not only have a public servant and advocate, but a fighter who has been a practitioner in the community – ever-present on the ground when her neighbors need her most.

“I’ve counted former Assemblyman Perry as a mentor and friend in service, and could not be more proud to endorse Monique Chandler-Waterman to continue his work in the Assembly,” she added.

Chandler-Waterman said Tuesday’s endorsements by Clarke and Walker join Perry; Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants; Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Councilwomen Haitian-born Mercedes Narcisse and African American Darlene Mealy; New York State Senator Guyanese-born Roxanne Persaud; and Trinidadian-born New York State Assemblywoman Jaime Williams, among a host of labor unions and organizations, who endorsed her.

On Monday, Reid, a former community liaison for the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, received the endorsement of New York State Senator Kevin Parker, who represents the 21st Senate District in Brooklyn.

“Reid brings both community organizing and government experience, giving him the unique perspective we need right now to keep New York moving forward,” Parker said.

Reid also had the backing of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who had campaigned for him.

Chandler-Waterman said her story is “one of service – as a public servant, advocate and activist.”

A lifelong resident of the Brooklyn neighborhoods of East Flatbush, Canarsie, Crown Heights and Brownsville, Chandler-Waterman said her record of activism spans two decades.

He said her “tireless, community-first approach” has been a theme throughout her life, forming multiple block associations and founding a nonprofit.

In addition, Chandler-Waterman said, as an activist, she has been working to reduce crime and boost public safety.

She also said she had been a public servant working in the offices of Perry; former New York City Council Member Williams, now New York City Public Advocate; and on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the New York City Test & Trace Corps.

Perry said he was “proud” to support Chandler-Waterman as his successor, adding that “the district will be in good hands.

“She is a natural leader in every sense of the word, and her roots go deep in this community,” he told Caribbean Life.

“Monique is the best of us, and she will fight to make sure everyone has access to quality public schools, affordable housing and community-based health care,” he added.

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