Mayor Bill de Blasio might have endorsed her City Council campaign, but Alicka Ampry-Samuel is not blinded by the flashy name backing her bid to represent the 41st City Council district.
Ampry-Samuel says that the mayor’s recent endorsement was nothing more than a show of solidarity – and not an indication she will do his bidding – in the fight to bring much-needed attention and resources to the district she hopes to one day represent at City Hall.
“This journey to [the] city council, is a journey to be a leader in a community that has been deprived of leadership for so many years and the endorsement from the mayor is something that is key for this community. With the last City Council member [Darlene Mealy], with the last State Assembly member [William Boyland Jr.] that is sitting in jail right now, we have never had partnerships with any administration – be it the governor or the mayor. We have never been at the table, we have never been in the building,” said Ampry-Samuel.
Ampry-Samuel, a native of Brownsville, claims that she will not compromise when it comes to the challenges facing the residents in district 41, that includes parts of Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and East Flatbush.
The front-runner cited her work as a senior advisor at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and with non-profit developers like, Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation, as proof she is an opponent of gentrification and a strong advocate of affordable housing.
“My background is all non-profit development. My background is housing the homeless. That was my job, finding homes, finding housing for the disadvantaged for the homeless,” said Ampry-Samuel.
Ampry-Samuel went so far as to claim the Mayor is “looking for input” from elected officials and local leaders when it comes to his housing plans across the district. Earlier this year, the Mayor released The Brownsville Plan, a blueprint that calls for over a $1 billion in public and private investments to create 2,500 new affordable homes, new and improved cultural, recreational, and educational facilities, and business opportunities in Brownsville.
However, the endorsement was the target of criticism by two of her opponents, Henry Butler and Deidre Olivera, who turned the mayor’s support into a warning that an Ampry-Samuel win would make her a rubber stamp city council member to the de Blasio regime.
Both opponents went on to criticize de Blasio’s recent housing and homelessness plans. Olivera claims de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, also known as, the New York Housing Plan, disproportionately affects minority neighborhoods, shutting out vulnerable populations from much-needed housing opportunities.
“I am the only candidate speaking out against the mayor’s unaffordable housing plan and mismanagement of NYCHA housing repairs and the lack of tenant support. The well-being of the people in this district is being crippled by Big developers and greed,” said Olivera.
Butler took aim at the mayor’s policies regarding homelessness, and specifically with placing a large number of shelters in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville.
“I will always be a strong independent fighter for our community, one who puts the interests of my district above all else. No matter what, you can count on me to put people before politics. I will challenge the mayor and his administration if they continue to target the 41st council district for additional homeless shelters, an area that is already over saturated,” said Butler.
But Ampry-Samuel was quick to commit herself to the constituents of District 41 and their needs when it comes to passing legislation at City Hall.
“I am nobody’s rubber stamp, I have never been. Ever. This endorsement is allowing me to have a seat at the table and be the voice my community needs. If there is anything that the mayor is negotiating or deciding or part of his planning and it’s not appropriate for my district. I am 100% going to stand up against the mayor on behalf of my community because I am being voted in by the people to be the voice of the people,” said Ampry-Samuel.
The primary elections are slated for this coming Tuesday, September 12 and the general election for November 7.