You could say that Jovia Radix, a longtime Flatlands native and candidate for the 45th District City Council seat, was made to be in politics in some form or another.
“My mom was an attorney at DC 37 for pretty much the entirety of my childhood. So I’ve kind of been in and around civic service my whole life,” said Radix.
Her mom, Hon. Judge Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, would later run for New York City Civil Court in 2001, giving her daughter her first taste of Brooklyn politics and elections. “I loved it. I just loved being able to engage with people, and hearing their issues and coming up with solutions. It was just one of those experiences that really inspired me,” Radix recalled.
Hinds-Radix won the election and would later get elected to the Supreme Court in 2005.
The campaign left a lasting impression on Radix who felt she wanted to help her local community but wasn’t quite ready to embrace her natural ability for city government. Instead, she wound up at the University of Pittsburgh enrolling as a pre-med student with the hopes of becoming a doctor and not a politician.
“I spent my first two years there as a science major thinking I was going to go to medical school but it didn’t take me long to realize that I really did love politics. I had done two years at DC37 political action program as an intern and I really did a lot of work there including registration drives, helping with political candidates screenings. Through all of that, I was like, ‘okay I think I’m going to go back and change my major,’” remarked Radix.
The epiphany was a welcomed change for Radix who knew she was meant to be in local politics. As soon as she graduated with her degree in political science, she went straight to work on Bill Thompson’s campaign for Mayor when he ran in 2009.
“That was my first out of college real job. I worked at the campaign full time. Then I went to Staten Island to work for Mike McMahon’s campaign for Congress. And then I did law for a little while. I’d been a paralegal deciding or not whether to become an attorney,” said Radiz.
At the same time, Radix has developed a strong bond with Kings County Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio, having been around Canarsie’s Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club since she was a child and serving as the Vice President of the TJ Young Democrats from 2010-2019.
Radix then later went on to serve as Brooklyn Regional Representative for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. While with the Governor, the young budding political operative was working on her Master’s in Public Administration from Long Island University, which then led her to Hofstra Law School.
“I resigned from my position at the Governor’s office to pursue law school and I actually graduated from Hofstra last year in 2018. It’s funny because yesterday I was sitting down reflecting on the fact that yesterday was one year to the day that I passed the New York State bar,” remarked Radix.
The now lawyer thinks it was destiny the seat opened right after she completed school and was looking to get civically involved again.
“I think everything is about timing in life. Last year around this time, I was waiting to see if I would pass the New York State bar and I wasn’t really thinking that my councilman would be the public advocate. But when the opportunity presented itself, I kind of sat down and reflected on my life and all the doors God had opened for me in that time period. My ability to finish law school, to have passed the bar, and be in a place to where I was prepared to hop into a position like this at this time, it just felt destined. It felt like fate, I’m moving forward,” said Radix.
As one of five women still left in the eight-person race, she is hopeful of the district’s chances of getting a woman in City Council.
Radix believes the top issues facing the district are housing, sanitation and employment opportunities for young adults.
Radix wants to work alongside the Department of Sanitation to ensure the commercial corridors in the 45th Council District are clean and maintained more regularly including addressing the illegal dumping of cars. Radix if elected, would create a system in her office so that abandoned cars could be reported to her office and be handled quickly and appropriately.
Also high on Radix’ issue list is affordable housing. She wants to tackle the issue of affordability across the district so that more people are able to afford their homes and are being displaced or priced out do to soaring property taxes or real estate development.
“This is near and dear to me because I went to college and came back. The cost of living in the district is so high and I would hate to see a time when our young people go to college or professional school and come back and can’t afford to live here,” said Radix.
Radix also wants to give vocational training to young people. She currently tutors at the Barbados Ex-Police Association helping young teens with homework and test prepping.
“They [students] are able if we give them the tools to be able. And because of that I think we need to ensure they have the resources that they need to make it, like funding our schools but also giving them an opportunity to pick creative career paths. For me I think our high schoolers should graduate with training in some field or trade that allows them to move into the future and have a career if they decide not to pursue four years of college,” said Radix.
Radix herself is the daughter of a Bajan mother and a Grenadian father and is very in touch with her Caribbean roots. She hopes to pass on her proud family ancestry onto the council and community. The 45th District has a high population of Caribbean immigrants including Jamaicans, Haitians, Trinidadians, Barbadians amongst others.
“I think it’s so important that we are so proud of who we are and where we come from. We are so proud of our countries and our heritage, especially in the 45th Council District. You know sometimes that proud puts us in a place where we sometimes feel divided but I really think we are a community of people that understands that we have come from somewhere else and that we have built something amazing here,” said Radix.
“I am the youngest person* in the race now and I think that I am in a good place, because I am not too far removed from the struggles of our young people exiting college and kind of re-entering our communities, finding a job and deciding where to live. I am very in tune with those struggles but at the same time I have spent alot of time with the older community as well. Getting to know them, learning from them so I am also very in tune with the issues in their lives as they get ready to retire and feel like they are getting priced out and can’t afford to live here. I have had the opportunity to hear it on both sides,” she added.
The 45th Council District includes Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood and Canarsie.
The special election is on Tuesday, May 14.
*Editor’s Note: This story when initially published incorrectly stated that Jovia Radix is the youngest person in the 45th special election but in actuality Adina Sash is the youngest by a few months.