Meet Lutchi Gayot: Haitian-American GOP Congress Candidate

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Meet Congressional hopeful Lutchi Gayot, a lifelong East Flatbush resident, son of Haitian immigrants and a Republican in a staunchly Democratic district and borough.

Gayot is challenging the winner of the Democratic Primary between incumbent U.S. Rep. Yvettte Clarke and challenger Adem  Bunkeddeko for the right to represent New York’s 9th Congressional District covering Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Brownsville, Midwood and Sheepshead Bay.

“Yes, I am running under the Republican line. The Kings County GOP gave me a platform, which I appreciate. But I’m still an American and I’m still me,” said Gayot, speaking with KCP as he walked through the East Flatbush neighborhood he grew up in and still calls home.

Gayot, a small business owner for the past 20 years in the construction industry, said the time is up for partisan politics infighting.

“We have a government that’s failing the people,” said Gayot. “The government is not doing what we’re sending them to Washington D.C. to do. Instead what they’re doing is fighting back and forth. Us here on the ground, we’re watching them. And they’re really wasting our time. “

Congressional hopeful Lutchi Gayot. Photo by Monica Melton

Whether or not he supports President Trump, was something Gayot was not willing to talk about.

“’Oh you’re a Trump supporter?’ Whatever answer you give that’s going to be something that somebody else is going to try to use against you. I’m just not trying to play that game. The game I am trying to play is to go to Washington D.C. to fight for the American people,” said Gayot, adding it’s more important to keep an eye on the country’s competitors.

“China is industrially taking the world over, and we’re here fighting over Stormy Daniels. What’s wrong with being able to solve the North Korean issue in one year? And so what you don’t like the guy who did it. You should at least applaud it because it’s good for you, your children and your great grandchildren because they don’t have to worry about living under the threat of a nuclear North Korea anymore,” he said.

Gayot believes that the root of many of the problems in Washington is partisanship and elected officials unwillingness to reach across the aisle to handle “the people’s business.”

“It’s about this country and actually going to Washington D.C. and doing things that work. It’s about being able to reach across the aisle to form partnerships with other congress members and to bring bills down to the floor in order to get them voted on, to get them passed. That’s what it’s supposed to be about, not this partisanship.”

Gayot thinks the ideas of others running for public office in Brooklyn and New York State could use an update. This includes actress Cynthia Nixon, who is running for governor, whom he asked to apologize for her statements on marijuana licenses as reparations for African-Americans.

“Whenever you put those three words together: reparations, “black” and marijuana its going to be a problem. I believe our community needs a lot more than that.  I can see the economics behind it as you can see in Colorado and Washington State, and now California. But to use that in order to garner votes, it’s a smack in the face,” said Gayot, adding it’s better to focus on education instead of marijuana reform.

“We need better schools. Trades in the schools are very important. Imagine if you had trades in high school and every single child graduated with a skill. It’s literally like having a safety net built right into your high school education. Twelve years, that’s how long our government has our children. After those 12 years, you’re not going to give them something to fall back on? You’re going to let them depend on going into debt in order to perhaps have something to fall back on?”

Much of Gayot’s focuses in on issues of the economy but he has taken a stance on other social issues too.

When it came to women’s reproductive rights, Gayot sees it as something that isn’t up for much discussion.

“I am socially liberal. I do believe whom you love, and what a woman chooses to do with her body is between her and her family. It should not be up for debate in the public square.”

Regarding immigration, Gayot said he champions a clear path to citizenship, he also thinks border security is worth a serious discussion.

For example, he is interested in being a voice for Haitian refugees displaced in the 2010 earthquake whose Temporary Protection Status (TPS) is set to expire July 22, 2019, but also partially believes in Trump’s building a wall at the border to Mexico, saying, “along our border there are certain places where you need a barrier and certain places where you don’t. A wall is very expensive to put in certain places.”

While Gayot agrees with Trumps’ plan for heightened border security, KCP was curious to know what he thought of Trump calling Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole countries”.

“I wasn’t there in that room.  What I will say is what I’ve seen. What I’ve seen so far is a lot of progress economically. I’ve seen lots of things occurring that are good for this country. None of us can deny that,” he said.

Gayot said he first became interested in politics over 13 years ago when he went to a community board meeting and Clarke was there. “The people on the stage weren’t listening to us. After that meeting, I went home and looked up ‘how to replace a public official who’s not doing anything,” recalled Gayot.

But looking forward to being a Republican in Brooklyn, Gayot harbors no illusions.

“Imagine climbing Mt. Everest backward, that’s how it is for me in Brooklyn. “