Eight candidates are jostling for the District 45 City Council seat left by Jumaane Williams when he was elected public advocate in February. Mayor DeBlasio set a special election date on May 14. But, whoever wins will have to run again six weeks later in another primary to determine who will serve out the remainder of Williams’ term through 2021.
Meet the contenders, listed in alphabetical order, who are emphatic about protecting local tenants and small businesses, and providing educational and mental health services in the district that covers East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood.
- Employment, housing, youth and senior services
Community organizer Anthony Alexis currently supervises city-funded senior centers and co-founded Brooklyn Young Democrats in the ’90s “with a mission to motivate and encourage young people to participate in the political process.” Prior to working with seniors, Alexis served in the City Council and the NY State Assembly.
- Fund education
- Promote mental health awareness
- Address up-zoning of residential communities
- Curb gun violence
Monique Chandler-Waterman is a mother of four, a longtime advocate and founder of East Flatbush Village Inc., a nonprofit that provides youth programs and family support including mental health tools and anti-violence initiatives. She has become one of the frontrunners after receiving Williams’ endorsement, for whom she worked as director of community outreach from 2012-2014.
One of her main concerns is that police often have to respond to incidents involving mental health issues without being properly trained.
“I believe, there should be a dedicated emergency response mental health team to take care of people in crisis,” said Waterman. “Too many people with mental illness have been shot and killed by police. People in my community live with the trauma of these incidents, the stress of daily life and a rapidly-changing community. I want to make sure they have support.”
- Fund education
- Address the foreclosure crisis plaguing the district
- Fight the displacement of the community
A small business owner and economist from Guyana, Victor Jordan previously worked as a trade economist for Trinidad’s Ministry of Trade Industry. He ran unsuccessfully for District 42nd’s State Assembly seat in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Currently, he serves as a member of Community Board 17’s Community Emergency Response Team, where he is on standby to assist police and firefighters in cases of emergency.
- Community outreach and education initiatives around affordable housing
- Re-characterizing “Little Haiti” designation into “Little Caribbean”
- Youth and professional development
Before Williams endorsed Waterman, the presumed top contender was Farah Louis, his former deputy chief of staff. Prior to her time at the City Council, Louis worked as a mental health professional and founded Girls Leading Up, an organization that prepares young women to become leaders. Additionally, she has worked with several local community groups, including the Haitian Centers Council and Flatbush Development Corporation, promoting health and wellness, financial literacy and civic engagement.
- Affordable senior housing
- Invest in schools and after-school programs
- Support services for immigrants
Attorney Jovia Radix is a life-long Flatbush resident and the vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Young Democrats Club. She previously served as Brooklyn regional representative to Governor Cuomo. With her family, Radix runs a weekly tutoring program for local kids at the Barbadian Ex-Police Association.
“There needs to be more investment in the growth and education of our youth in District 45,” said Radix. “Lower-income students should not have barriers to their education based on what they can or cannot afford. Public universities should be completely tuition-free.”
- Land use and affordable housing
- Small business development
- Fund schools
- Support services for immigrants
Xamayla Rose is a former BP Marty Markowitz campaign consultant, who has served on Community Board 17, the Ernest Skinner Political Association and who has co-founded the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign, an organization dedicated to fighting youth violence.
One of her main concerns is to contextualize zoning as developers swoop in and construct larger buildings between single and two-family homes, often damaging their foundations. She has also called for a more transparent MTA budget to shed light on the agency’s spending and shift some of the cost burdens off riders.
“We’ve lost a lot of our affordable housing in our neighborhoods,” stated Rose. “I will work to bring back more meaningful and actual affordable housing to our communities so our families can stay here.”
- Support local small business
- Extend MTA subway lines
- Expand affordable healthcare
Adina Sash, a social media sensation who also goes by the name Flatbush Girl, is set on using her online smarts to set up a support system helping small businesses engage their customers digitally and to protect them from being taken over by chain stores like Walmart and TJ Maxx.
“We can pair [the small businesses] up with staff members who are looking for internships in technology or social media, thereby creating longevity for these mom-and-pops which are still using mailers or signs in front of their store,” said Sash.
If elected, she has pledged to donate half her $148,500 salary to local nonprofits that keep youth engaged, fight for safer streets and against gun violence.
L. Rickie Tulloch
- Affordable housing
- Downzoning of residential areas
- Secure unding for homelessness prevention and re-housing programs
L. Rickie Tulloch, senior director of the Office of Facilities Development at NYC Health + Hospitals, is a longtime advocate for housing affordability and homelessness prevention.
He currently serves as chairman of the Visionary Political Action Committee and was the treasurer and chair of Comunity Board 17’s Land Use Committee. In 2014, he ran for State Assembly and came in second to now-Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte.
“I have lived and served our community for 40 years, and I have seen the power of organizing and community-building to fight for quality housing, good schools and jobs with dignity,” Tulloch said.