The Brooklyn battle between two well-respected jurists on who will fill the second of two Kings County Surrogate Court Bench seats continued last week with front-running Kings County Civil Court Judge Dweynie Esther Paul receiving the endorsements by the City’s largest labor organization– the 150,000-member District Council 37– and its affiliated local unions.
The surrogate court oversees wills, trusts and estates, guardianships, and real estate matters. It is also is responsible for appointments of attorneys worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees annually – a source of income that both those loyal to the Kings County Democratic Party machine and the progressive Kings County Democratic Party machine are seeking.
Paul, a George Washington University School of Law graduate and civically active resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant where she is the deacon of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church and a former community board member, announcing she filed over 17,000 nominating petition signatures.
“Judge Paul,” said Shaun D. Francois I, President of the 25,000 member Local 372 District, Council 37–representing NYC Department of Education Employees–“will bring her life-long sense of community to the Surrogate Court. She has no other agenda but public service.”
“Restoring faith in government,” said Anthony Wells, President, Local 371, Social Service Employees Union (SSEU), District Council 37, AFSCME “begins with faith in our courts. The Kings County Surrogate deals with the most sensitive issues. There could be no better choice than Judge Paul.”
“Judge Paul is the only choice for us, the people who keep New York working,” said Local 237 Teamsters President Gregory Floyd. “We need Judge Paul elected Brooklyn Surrogate because we can trust her to be fair, to be honest and to be ethical.”
Also endorsing Paul is the Alliance of South Asian American Labor.
“The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic workers in our communities facing economic uncertainty and creating a heavy load on working families everywhere. We need judge Dweynie to stand alongside ASAAL as we protect workers’ rights, demand equal pay for equal work, fight for safe working conditions, and secure economic justice for all. We are proud to stand with Dweynie E. Paul as she is the best among the rest, while bringing hundreds of volunteers to work hard for her victory on June 22,” said ASAAL President Maf Misbah Uddin.
Paul has already received the endorsements of a number of elected officials including U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, State Senators Kevin Parker and Roxanne J. Persaud; Assembly Members Nick Perry, Latrice Walker, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Jaime Williams, Mathylde Frontus and Stefani Zinerman; and City Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Farah N. Louis, Robert Cornegy, Mark Treyger and Justin Brannan.
Democratic District leaders supporting Paul include Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Josue Pierre, Annette M. Robinson, Henry Butler, Margarita Kagan, Ari Kagan, Shirley Patterson, Edu Hermelyn, Arelis Martinez, Dione Jordan, Mark Treyger, Nancy Tong, Victoria Kelly, Joseph A. Bova, Erik Dilan, Arleny Alvarado-McCalla, Frank Seddio, Sue Ann Partnow and Christopher McCreight.
Additional endorsements for Paul came from a number of political clubs including the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, Progressive Democratic Political Association, Bay Democrats
Rosa Parks Democratic Club, Arthur Ashe Democratic Club and the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club.
Not to be outdone, her equally respected opponent Kings County Supreme Court Judge Rosemarie Montalbano, has been endorsed by U.S. Reps Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez; Assemblymembers Maritza Davila, Jo Anne Simon and Robert Carroll; State Sen. Julia Salazar; City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso; and Democratic District Leaders Shaquana Boykin, Kristina Naplatarski Emile Bazile, David Schwartz and former Assemblyman Walter Mosely, the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association, the Independent Neighborhood Democrats, the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, the NYS Court Clerks Association, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, the New York State Court Officers Association, La Nueva Esperanza and the Haitian Powerhouse.
Montalbano was born and raised in Bushwick to immigrant parents. While growing up in this neighborhood, she helped run her father’s deli. During this time she witnessed firsthand how vulnerable members of the community like her father — a financially struggling non-English speaking immigrant facing foreclosure — were taken advantage of by predatory lenders and banks.
“I know the issues of Deed Theft and the Third Party Transfer program are plaguing many of our Brooklyn neighbors, often targeting working people, seniors, people of color and immigrants who, like my parents, worked hard to own their own homes,” she said. “Many of our neighbors just want the right to retire in peace and pass something they’ve earned on to their children and grandchildren. When elected, I will make it my priority to protect seniors from those who prey on the nest eggs they’ve devoted their lives to building for themselves and their loved ones. But this takes the right commitment to, and knowledge of, the issues we confront.”