Kashif Makes Progress in Park Slope, Challenges Schneider To Debate

Kashif Hussain

In a suddenly competitive 44th Assembly District Democratic leadership race, newcomer candidate Kashif Hussain is taking it to entrenched progressive candidate Doug Schneider on his home turf of Park Slope.

Hussain, a Pakistani immigrant by way of Kuwait, grew up in the Ditmas Park/Kensington end of the district, and has solid experience as a grassroots community activist including being co-founder of the Pakistani American Youth Society (PAYS). But he has been campaigning hard in Park Slope and Windsor Terrace, and is seeing some results from his labor.

“A lot of people in Park Slope are liking Kashif’s message and understanding representation comes with experience in dealing with community issues,” said Hussain’s spokesperson Ahsan Ali. “Doug is talking about how he is progressive more than anything, but Kashif has been here in the community and building multiethnic communities for a long time. We need a doer more than someone running on a platform as a progressive.”

Kashif Hussain, candidate for the 44th Assembly District Democratic District leader position, campaigns along 7th Avenue in Park Slope.

Hussain has also recently put out an aggressive 10-point plan that addresses both progressive ideals and ways to fully engage the district in local politics. The plan includes:

1. NY needs Early Voting.

2. NY should allow Election Day voter registration & party changes.

3. A recall option to allow NYC voters the ability to remove corrupt elected officials.

4. We need term limits for the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee Chair and District Leaders.

5. Public financing of judicial campaigns.

6. The Brooklyn Democratic Party must demand ethics reforms.

7. Reform NYS election voter suppression. 

8. The Brooklyn Democratic Party must fight for affordable housing, k-12 and higher education, public transportation, universal healthcare and mandate that every candidate seeking the party’s endorsement fight on these issues. 

9. The Democratic Party must hold monthly Town Hall meetings across the borough to help shape the party’s platform.

10. The Brooklyn Democratic Party should empower neighborhoods by giving more power to local community boards and protecting tenants as well as mom and pop businesses.

While Hussain is making inroads, he did get into the race rather late, which could work against him. Schneider, on the other hand, got into the race early, and his campaign successfully pressured longtime Democratic District Leader Jacob Gold to retire from the unpaid, but politically important position after 43 years.

Schneider, whose wife was the treasurer for Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s campaign and currently has a job in his administration as the mayor’s director of appointments, also has the backing of the entrenched Democratic machine – both progressives like City Council Member Brad Lander, reformers like Assembly Member Robert Carroll and mainstream Dems like Comptroller Scott Stringer.

But Hussain says it’s not about when you get in the race, it’s about the message that you send.

“Democracy doesn’t have a time. Democracy is now. It’s not about yesterday or tomorrow. It’s about what you do today,” he said.

And since entering the race, Hussain wants it to be issues-based with the ability to reach out to all the communities in the district. As such, he is challenging Schneider to air everything out in an open debate.

“Our district deserves a chance at democracy. After 43 years, the seat that my opponent and I are running for, deserves a debate on issues that affect our community. I will be the first to challenge my opponent to this debate,” he said.