Farah Louis wins special election for 45th District Council seat

Special election: Eight candidates vie for Williams’ former Council seat
Farah Louis is another frontrunner candidate due to her six-year tenure as Williams’s deputy chief of staff and a host of endorsements, whcih includes politicians, a police union, and Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio.
Farah Louis

Farah Louis will be the city’s newest councilwoman and will fill the seat vacated by now-Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, after winning the special election on May 14.

Louis came out on top after earning approximately 42 percent of the votes, according to the city Board of Elections, which reported she earned 3861 votes out of a total 9,235 ballots cast with more than 99 percent of scanners counted by Wednesday morning.

The councilwoman-elect will take up the seat in City Hall to represent the 45th district, which includes parts or all of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, and Canarsie.

She worked as Williams’s deputy chief of staff for six years when he was a councilman and bested her fellow former staffer Monique Chandler-Waterman, who came in second with 2,790 votes, just north of 30 percent.

The two frontrunners soared ahead of the other candidates, with Jovia Radix — daughter of New York Supreme Court judge Sylvia Hinds-Radix — coming in third at a mere nine percent of the vote and 849 ballots cast.

Louis previously drew heat in the race when she scolded her former boss, saying during a radio interview that Williams was responsible for the area’s over-development and dearth of employment in a radio interview, according to Bklyner.com.

“We do not have the resources anymore to ensure we can thrive and move forward,” she said during the interview. “Why is that? Because whoever was there before wasn’t focused on that, and I was.”

Williams snubbed Louis by endorsing Chandler-Waterman, despite the latter having worked for him at a more junior position as community outreach coordinator for two-and-a-half years.

But the incoming legislator had the backing of multiple local political heavyweights and organizations that have clashed with the public advocate in the past.

They include Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush), who reportedly slammed his treatment of his former staffers; the police union the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which clashed with the former councilman’s criticism of stop-and-frisk; as well as the Jewish group the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Flatlands), and the late former Councilman Lew Fidler, possibly due to Williams’s abstention on a vote to condemn the Israel-critical Boycott Divest and Sanction movement.

Louis also received the endorsement of powerful Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio, who had previously thrown his support behind Williams’s Public Advocate campaign.

Williams sent his congratulations to Louis within minutes of her victory on social media.

“Congratulations to @FarahNLouis Councilmember of the 45th District,” he wrote on Twitter.

Louis campaigned on stemming the displacement of locals by incoming developers and has advocated for what she calls “contextual zoning” that would mandate new buildings suit the neighborhood’s existing character and building sizes.

She also wants to reform the federally-mandated formula of the Area Median Income for determining so-called “affordable housing” to better reflect local communities.

The newcomer will serve out the remainder of the current term of the office and will soon have to revive her campaign to run again during the upcoming June primaries, followed by the general election in November for a two-year term ending in 2021.

Louis thanked her team and her voters for helping her to victory.

“This campaign has shown me the beauty, resiliency & power of this district,” she said on Twitter. “Every person who contributed, volunteered, voted & every person who offered a word of encouragement played an integral part in tonight’s outcome. It is my deepest honor to represent you on the @NYCCouncil.”

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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