19th Senate District Race: Narcisse Challenges Persaud

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In what is sure to be a raucous and perhaps competitive primary race, Mercedes Narcisse, a registered nurse, longtime Canarsie community leader and successful businesswoman, today announced that she will challenge incumbent 19th District State Senator Roxanne Persaud in the September Democratic Primary.

The 19th Senatorial district includes Brownsville, Ocean Hill, East New York, Starrett City, Canarsie, Flatlands, Georgetown, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Marine Park, and Sheepshead Bay. 

“I’m running for State Senator because I have a vested stake in this community,” said Narcisse in a press conference held in front of the PS K366 Shirley Chisholm Campus, 963 East 107th Street (Between Avenue J and Flatlands Avenue). “I have deep roots in this district.  I raised my children and lived here for 30 years and built a prosperous health business.  It is no secret that our community is facing many serious issues that must be confronted  head on, so we can no longer afford to tolerate just talk.  We need to do work.”

Narcisse said she wanted to make sure that friends and neighbors do not fall prey to foreclosures and keep their homes, that joblessness is tackled head on and that solutions are found that turn around the health and education crisis in the district.

“I want to revitalize our local business districts which will create much-needed jobs. I have been tried and tested and I am ready to serve my community,” she said.

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud
State Sen. Roxanne Persaud

In taking on Persaud, who won the vacant seat just three months ago in a special election to replace former Senator John Sampson, who was convicted of felony corruption charges, Narcisse will also be taking on Kings County Democratic Party Boss Frank Seddio and the powerful Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club.

Interestingly, Narcisse, a Haitian-American,  is a former member of the TJ Club and Seddio is the Godfather of one of her children. However, Narcisse like Sam Pierre, the Executive Director of the Haitian American Caucus, had a falling out with Seddio and the club.

Much of the falling out had to do with Seddio supporting Persaud, a Guyanese-American, for his old 59th Assembly District, when former Assembly Member Alan Maisel successfully replaced the term-limited Lew Fidler in the City Council.

Persaud won the assembly seat in a special election in 2014 with Seddio’s support, only to give it up less then a year later, when Seddio and the TJ Club endorsed her for the senate seat. This past Monday Seddio and the TJ Club endorsed Persaud’s former assembly chief of staff Jamie Williams to run in an April special election for the now vacant assembly seat.

Narcisse, Pierre and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte are among a growing number of politically involved Haitian-Americans that believe there time for political power is coming due to the large number of Haitian-American immigrants now living in the 19th Senate District, the 59th Assembly District and adjacent districts.

City Council Member Inez Barron
City Council Member Inez Barron

Among Narcisse’s early supporters is East New York City Councilwoman Inez Barron, who accompanied Narcisse at the press conference.

“Mercedes has the experience, independent-thinking and passion to help pursue the resources this community needs to improve our schools, care for our seniors and help increase affordable housing in our neighborhoods,” said Barron.

Barron is the wife of East New York Assembly Member Charles Barron. She formerly served in her husband’s assembly seat, while Charles Barron spent three terms in the City Council. However, when Charles Barron was term-limited out, the couple swiped seats.

While the Barrons’ have a strong base in East New York and Brownsville, which will help Narcisse in that part of the district, Charles Barron, a former Black Panther and avowed black nationalist, is generally not well liked among many Jewish and white voters, which may wind up hurting Narcisse.

The primary election is on Sept. 13.

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