A bevy of electeds from both Manhattan and Brooklyn gathered yesterday to hold a fundraising event for the newly elected Councilmember Farah Louis.
The gathering comes in the wake of Louis carrying 42 percent of the vote against seven other candidates in the May 14 special election for the council seat in District 45, which was vacated by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D). Due to election laws, the candidates will square off again next month in a Democratic Primary, where once again Louis main opponent will likely be Monique Chandler-Waterman (D), who carried 30 percent of the vote in the special election.
Louis held a networking fundraiser at the Beekman Pub in Lower Manhattan in order to drum up funds for her re-election campaign. She was joined by several of her endorsers, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen), Councilmember Helen Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square), Councilmember Vanessa Gibson (D-Claremont, Concourse), Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights), Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Battery Park City, Chinatown) and Councilmember Kalman Yeger (D-Bensonhurst, Borough Park).
“I’ve gotten to know you, Farah… and what I really know is that you have the back of the people in your district,” said Rosenthal. “You are fighting for a unified 45. You are fighting for your district. You are fighting for your constituents, and I’m excited to have you as a colleague in the council. Welcome.”
Johnson acknowledged that, as the successor to Williams, Louis has a tough act to follow (and remarked that he was in a similar position when he was first elected in 2013). However, he remained confident that Louis is up to the task.
“I followed someone who had been in the City Council, at that point, for fourteen years, and Speaker for eight of those years,” Johnson said to Louis. “Councilmember Williams had been in your seat for almost a decade. To come in following his ascension to public advocate, there are big shoes to fill. And we want to make sure that you don’t just fill those shoes, but that you run in those shoes, marathon in those shoes, and you get new shoes!”
Gibson said that, though she was pleased to see the increased presence of women of color in the city council, it was important to recognize that Louis was elected on the merits of her qualifications as a leader.
“We have another dynamic and qualified [Council Member] who just happens to be a woman,” said Gibson. “Notice how I said that; because at the end of the day, this is about public service that recognizes their fundamental purpose and passion in life. To serve others, to make sure that we are elected to represent the voice of our constituents -and Farah has been doing that for quite some time.”
Ironically, upon being elected, Louis was met with accusations from Chandler-Waterman’s camp that a significant portion of her voter base consisted of Trump supporters. This was because of the volume of support she received from the district’s Orthodox Jewish community, a demographic known for being predominantly right-wing.
But Yeger, during his time on the mic, adamantly denied the notion that Louis was “elected by Trump supporters”.
“It’s not true, it’s just not true,” said Yeger. “The Orthodox Jews in the southern portion of the district are not exclusively Trump supporters. There are people who support the president, there are people who don’t support the president, and there are people who think he’s a maniac. Yes, she did very well here, but she also did well throughout the district.”
When asked, Farah Louis said that her top priority as a council member will be to continue the work she’s been doing up to this point.
“[I will be] working on tenant protection and home ownership programs within our community, and working on education regarding those issues. Things that I’ve been working on and sharing information about during the campaign,” said Louis.
The primary election is slated for Tuesday, June 25. The district includes Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, Canarsie.