Farah Louis returns to campaigning

Farah Louis returns to campaigning
Farah Louis poses for Caribbean Life.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Hardly a week after she won the special election to replace Grenada American former New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams as representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, Haitian American Farah Louis is already back on the campaign trail, urging votes to re-elect her in the Democratic Primary on June 25 for the much-coveted district seat.

“The special election race wasn’t easy,” said Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, in an email message to supporters over the weekend. “When the journey got rough, you all stuck by my side, did not get discouraged and uplifted me in ways that words cannot define.

“This campaign has not only shown me the resiliency and power of this district but the resiliency and power of myself,” she added. “It is my deepest honor to serve as the elected representative of District 45 in the New York City Council and hit the ground running.

“But we must remember, the journey isn’t over yet,” Louis cautioned. “Re-elect me as your City Councilwoman!”

Even though Louis handsomely won the special election last Tuesday in the crowded field to replace Williams, who was recently elected New York City Public Advocate, she must serve out the remainder of Williams’s term, which runs through 2021.

But she must first triumph in the Democratic Party primary on Jun. 25 and the general election in November.

Louis, who was born in Brooklyn and served as deputy chief-of-staff and budget director for Williams in the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, defeated seven other candidates in the intense special election.

Williams did not endorse Louis in the race. Instead, he endorsed the first runner-up, Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, who served as the former councilman’s community outreach director in the district that comprises the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie. Most of the candidates in the race were either born in the Caribbean or are of Caribbean heritage.

With the strong backing of the Haitian and Jewish communities in Brooklyn, and support from many elected officials and labor unions, Louis, in the special election, garnered over 41 percent of the votes, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to New York City Board of Elections (BOE).

The BOE said Louis received 3,861 votes, or 41.8 percent, of the 9,200 votes cast on the rainy day.

Chandler-Waterman received 2,790 votes, or 30 percent.

Lawyer Jovia Radix, the daughter of Barbadian and Grenadian immigrants, placed third, receiving 849 votes, or 9.1 percent. Radix, a former Brooklyn regional director for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, is the daughter of Grenadian-born dentist Dr. Joseph Radix and Barbadian-born Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix. They all reside in Brooklyn.

The other candidates in the special election were: Jamaican-born senior director at New York City Health + Hospitals Rickie Tulloch; 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; economist Victor Jordan; and Adina Sash, a small business owner and community activist in Brooklyn.

Radix told Caribbean Life on Saturday that she will not contest the Democratic Primary, but Chandler-Waterman has reportedly stated that she will again oppose Louis in the primary.

The decision of the other candidates is uncertain. But should they decide to challenge Louis in the Democratic Primary, they are most likely to once again split the ballots from English Caribbean voters in the district, giving Louis an easier passage to victory.

More than 188,000 people live in the 45th Council District, of which about 61 percent are either Caribbean American or African American, according to reports.

Analysts say Louis has the Haitian and Jewish community votes “locked down.” And she would again count on them to put her over the top.

But Louis is not taking anything for granted, appealing to all voters for their support in the upcoming primary.

“From the very beginning of this campaign, up until this past week, I have seen the passion and support rallied behind our joint vision,” she said in her email message. “As a proud resident, born and raised in the district, I am forever inspired and empowered by your dedication to our community.”

Louis urged constituents to join her in her fight for affordable housing, funding for education, quality healthcare and “economic development for our neighborhoods in Brooklyn and NYC (New York City).

“Team Farah needs dedicated, talented and hardworking people like yourselves to be the soldiers, change makers and strategists that will lead us into a historical win in the 45th City Council District,” she said.

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