In a special election that was held on May 14th, Farah Louis, a fresh, new face on the Brooklyn political scene was resoundingly elected to the NYC council, representing the 45th council district in the heart of Kings County. Ms. Louis has now assumed the seat on the city council that was vacated by Jumaane Williams when he was elected as the city’s new Public Advocate several months ago.
Ms. Louis ran on a platform predicated on the values of respect for racial, cultural and religious diversity, as well as the preservation of individual rights, freedoms and community unity. She was represented on the ballot on the United 45 ticket.
“This very special community, this amazing city council district, is comprised of a vast array of minorities and nationalities. We are exceptionally proud to say that living among us are our brothers and sisters from Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti and all over the Caribbean. We wholeheartedly embrace the richness and beauty that all cultures bring to our community; Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We are also incredibly proud of those of the Muslim and Jewish faith in which we share our lives on a daily basis. They are our esteemed friends and neighbors and we have gained so much from their remarkable faith and their drive to enhance and improve the lives of every constituent in the district, “ said Ms. Louis at her victory address.
Addressing her supporters at her victory party subsequent to her election to the city council, Ms. Louis added that her decision to “throw her hat in the ring” and seek elected office was due to the inspiration she received on a recent trip to Israel. “It was while I was immersed in prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall did I decide to continue to dedicate my life to public service and try to help as many people as I can,“ she added.
She said that what she learned while visiting a large number of various religious sites in Israel that played a paramount role in the growth of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism was that each religion has an incredible amount of wisdom and faith to add to this world. Ms. Louis took note of the fact that people can overcome differences in terms of belief systems and can find common ground in which to coalesce and improve the quality of life for all of us.
Ms. Louis had spent 10 days in Israel last summer with the Unity in Action team led by “The Bridge” founder, Mark Meyer Appel. Upon her victory, Mr. Appel said, “Farah is a true leader and I am sure her call for unity and her strong commitment to social and economic justice will make us all very proud to have her represent our district in the city council.”
The electoral results confirmed that Louis received 42 percent of the votes in the 45th city council district. She earned 3861 votes out of a total 9,235 ballots cast with more than 99 percent of scanners counted by Wednesday morning, May 15th.
The 45th city council district includes parts of the Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, Canarsie and Marine Park sections of Brooklyn.
In terms of hands on experience in city government, polls indicated that what impressed voters about Ms. Louis was her firm commitment to making the daily lives of her constituents better in a multitude of ways. Said one voter, who chose to remain anonymous, “While I really admired the slate of candidates who ran for this position, I felt that Ms. Louis really had her finger on the pulse of the people in this community. She had a precise understanding of what they desired to improve the quality of their lives and she offered real and workable platforms in which people could progress both professionally and personally. I think she gained this awareness from her prior experience in city government. I might also add that her knowledge of how government can help the people was simply remarkable.”
Ms. Louis served as the deputy chief of staff for six years for former city councilman Jumaane Williams as did former staffer Monique Chandler-Waterman, who came in second with 2,790 votes, just north of 30 percent.
Mr. Williams sent his congratulations to Louis on her victory on social media.
“Congratulations to @FarahNLouis Councilmember of the 45th District,” he wrote on Twitter.
The two front runners soared ahead of the other candidates, with Jovia Radix — daughter of New York Supreme Court judge Sylvia Hinds-Radix — coming in third at a mere nine percent of the vote and 849 ballots cast.
The councilwoman-elect garnered the backing of multiple political heavyweights including NYS Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush), who labored assiduously to unite the community in support of Ms. Louis. Additionally, Ms. Louis had the support of the NYPD union of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Flatlands), and the late former city councilman Lew Fidler. Ms. Louis also received the full-throated support from Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Councilman Kalman Yeger who campaigned with alacrity for Ms. Louis in the Jewish community, along with the Flatbush Jewish Coalition.
Louis also received the endorsement of powerful Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio, who had previously thrown his support behind the campaign for Public Advocate that Jumaane Williams waged.
Among the many planks in her party platform, Ms. Louis campaigned on stemming the displacement of locals by a new wave of developers. She has advocated for what she calls “contextual zoning” – a concept that would mandate new buildings be built in accordance and in concert with the neighborhood’s existing character and building sizes.
Ms. Louis has also called for significant reforms in the federally-mandated formula of the Area Median Income for determining so-called “affordable housing”. She has said that such imperative reforms will serve to better reflect the composition of local communities.
Ms. Louis will serve out the remainder of the current term of the office and will soon be poised to revive her campaign in order to place her name on the ballot in the upcoming June primaries. Subsequently, the general election will be held in November for a two-year term ending in 2021.
Louis profusely thanked her team of volunteer supporters and those who cast their votes for her. She said that had it not been for their tireless efforts and the fact that each person threw their heart and soul into this campaign, she would not be celebrating a victory.
“This campaign has shown me the beauty, resiliency & power of this district,” she said on Twitter. “Every person who contributed, volunteered, voted & every person who offered a word of encouragement played an integral part in tonight’s outcome. It is my deepest honor to represent you on the city council.”
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