City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brownsville, East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) said today it is too early to tell whom she will support in the local male Democratic District leader race, but of one thing she wants to see for sure – a strong united district with everybody pulling together for the betterment of the community.
Ampry-Samuel’s thoughts come as longtime community activist and educator Chris Legree announced yesterday he will challenge incumbent male district leader Anthony Jones for the position.
Ampry-Samuel recognized that Jones supported her in her run for city council, and thought she had a good working relationship with him, but said the communications wires seemed to have gotten crossed so she’s not sure where she is at with him.
“My goal is to make sure we all come together as strong team. I don’t know where or how, but the goal is to unite the entire district. So, we’ll see if we could all sit down and work together,” said Ampry-Samuel.
Ampry-Samuel previously served as the female Democratic district leader up until 2004. Shortly after, she went to Ghana West Africa where she to Ghana, West Africa to work in the US Embassy managing a human rights and community development portfolio.
There are two Democratic district leaders per assembly district – one male and one female. The district leader position, while unpaid, wields power in they select local judicial candidates as well as assembly and state senate candidates for special elections. They also are instrumental in hiring poll workers getting petition signatures and help in structuring the county Democratic Party platform and rules.
Former City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy is the current female district leader, and Jones has already endorsed Shemene Monique Minter, the president of Jones’ 1st Democratic Club, to run against Mealy.
Ampy-Samuel said she isn’t endorsing anyone yet for the female district leader seat, and did not rule out running herself. District leaders are right there on the ground, and there needs to be a strong club and political presence. Unfortunately, we don’t have as strong a club as when I was the district leader, she said.
Ampry-Samuel said back when she was the DL, there was the 55th Democratic Club (standing for Brownsville’s 55th Assembly District), but it disbanded sometime ago. Many of the members are still around, and it was a very active and strong club, she said.
One thing Ampry-Samuel doesn’t want to see is for the New Kings Democrats (NKD), a club based out of Williamsburg, but that has no set boundaries to come into Brownsville and try to impose its political will to find local Democratic County Committee members.
“What I see is the NKD trying to become the anti-establishment club, and while I see and understand that wave everywhere of people fed up with politics as usual, I don’t necessarily need them in my community,” said Ampry-Samuel.
“We’ve done so much to preserve and invest here when people didn’t care and now we’re on everyone’s radar so everyone is focussing on Central Brooklyn. I can give classes on activating county committee members so we don’t need someone (NKD) to do that. I can appreciate them having a new voice and younger energy, but they can do that in Downtown Brooklyn and not necessarily in central Brooklyn where they are not familiar with the community and people who live here.”