In a race decided fairly early after polls closed, Alicka Ampry-Samuel bested a field of more than a dozen candidates to win the 41st City Council district primary race last night covering Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Brownsville, East Flatbush.
According to the unofficial vote total, Ampry-Samuel garnered 3,320 votes or 31.4 percent of the electorate to second place finisher Henry Butler, who finished 2,318 or 22 percent of the votes. Cory Provost following behind with 1,197 votes or 11.3 percent of the votes and Deidre Olivera finished with 847 votes or 8 percent of the votes.
“It feels great. It’s a little overwhelming right now, but I’m just so thankful that the community actually showed up. The community wanted to see change and the community was the one who asked me to run and it was the community who supported me,” said Ampry-Samuel.
“I want to restore just the pride that we have in our district, the 41st and the level of respect. Over the years people have just lost respect for us as a community, with us as a people, but with this win we are making sure that we are not just on the map, but our voices will be heard and we will demand everything we deserve and want in our community,” she added.
Samuel, who less than a week from the primaries received an endorsement from Mayor Bill de Blasio, was considered by many the candidate to beat as one of the more experienced nominees in the race. The Brownsville native has a history in politics as the former chief-of-staff for long-time friend and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville) and a senior advisor at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
“I’m excited for my friend, I’m excited for my community, I’m excited for her [Alicka’s] family, I’m excited for my family because finally our community has the type of representation it deserved for many, many years. There’s no place else for us to go but up,” said Walker.
The race for the 41st Council District was marked by some unexpected twists and a focus on affordable housing. Early last month, only two candidates, Ampry-Samuel and Butler received matching funds from the City’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB), Butler being the only candidate to receive the maximum amount. In addition, Ampry-Samuel’s initial campaign headquarters, at 47 Belmont Street, burned down to the ground in late June after accidental electrical wiring in the thrift store next door caused the blaze.
In June of this year, de Blasio unveiled 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.
The plan was met with some opponents specifically Olivera, who argued that the plan was a much needed economic investment into the area but warned the ambitious project would have to include truly affordable housing if it was expected to benefit the Brownsville community.
Ampry-Samuel will now face off with the only Republican candidate in the race, Berneda Jackson, in the General Election on Nov. 7.