As the race to succeed term-limited City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy heads into the second campaign finance filing period this week, the sleeper of the six candidates in the race in the race could just be Deidre Olivera.
The district includes Brownsville and parts of Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights and East Flatbush.
“I think my lifetime work has shown that I genuinely care about the community. Not just saying I care about the community but I have invested 20 into the community because I really do care. I don’t want to be part of the machine, part of the system, where I just get in office and go along the get-along just because someone else says, look I put you in office, we have to all agree. No we have to represent the people,” said Olivera.
Olivera has a history in community work and social activism advocating for affordable housing and homelessness. She also has ties to local union workers as a female skilled laborer/journeywoman on multiple building projects around the city.
The single mother believes that there is a significant amount of work to be done in the district and knows that it starts by taking action and not just promising the constituents of District 41 empty promises.
“I think what happens a lot of the time is that no one is listening. So all of these policies and procedures are made on a political level but it does not actually trickle down to becoming a living, breathing thing [policy change] on the grassroots level.”
Olivera’s main goal is affordable housing. Brooklyn is one of the fastest growing boroughs and is experiencing a housing crisis. Just last year the City Council approved the East New York Rezoning Plan that aims to bring affordable housing and economic development to the area.
“The thought that when you’re in the last place [Brownsville] that anyone ever wants to be, and you get pushed out of there [displaced], for me is unimaginable. I don’t think people understand the gravity of the situation. First thing I would do [if i were to elected] is put both feet on the ground. Stop and assess what is going on with housing and affordability, and put some steps in place. I don’t like to talk about it, I like to see measurable progress,” said Olivera.
Olivera will also focus on collective bargaining, preserving prevailing wage, worker safety, women’s rights and equality, small business and entrepreneurship, education, and security for seniors.
The local business owner wants to see the residents in her community economically re-invest in their district. Be employed, home-owners, business owners within the Brownsville community. She thinks that residents should start having the opportunity to own businesses, to identify and access property and utilize property to economically benefit the district.
Olivera registered with the Campaign Finance Board in early 2016 and has raised to date nearly $5,000 from over 65 contributors.
Though she doesn’t have backing from an elected official she does have community support and backing from Laborers Local 731 and Steamfitters Local 638.
Others that Olivera lists as endorsers include Reverend Acey Pettaway, President of the 73rd Precinct Clergy Council; Reverend Tracy Henderson, Universal Temple Church of God; Elder Brian Hurd, Holy Trinity House of Prayer and Deliverance; Rev Dan Craig, Mount Zion Baptist Church; Reverend Leslie Shannon, Assistant Pastor, St Paul’s Baptist Church; and Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church.
Besides clergy Olivera has a list of both recreational teams and businesses that are supporting her.
Olivera’s office is located at 774 Rockaway Avenue right in the heart of Brownsville.