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They have the same job — and they want the same job

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Two Fort Greene political rivals who hold the same unpaid party post are vying for the same promotion: a seat in state Assembly.

Olanike Alabi and Walter Mosley, the neighborhood’s Democratic female and male district leaders, have already started jockeying for front-runner status in the race to replace third-term Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene), who is running for Congress against 30-year incumbent Rep. Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene).

Alabi, who has held the volunteer district leader position since 2006, announced her candidacy on Tuesday, promising to focus her energies on health care, education, and housing, if elected.

But Mosley, who plans to launch his campaign soon, says his work in the obscure, behind-the-scenes role since 2008 will be enough to earn him a new title.

“I’ve proven myself over the past four years,” said Mosley, a former state Senate aide who is expected to receive Jeffries’s blessing. “People see the natural transition between myself and Hakeem.”

But Alabi shot back that voters — not endorsements — will determine the outcome of the fall election.

“Everybody has to earn their own,” said Alabi, a secretary with the powerful healthcare workers union 1199 S.E.I.U. “I know first-hand how far we have come and I’m keenly aware of what is needed to move our district forward.”

The two district leaders work together endorsing judges, overseeing voting for their party’s county leader, and hiring poll workers and election inspectors on Election Day in the 57th Assembly District, which runs from Fort Greene to Crown Heights.

But insiders see Alabi and Mosley as nemeses who both covet Jeffries’s seat.

Jeffries gave up his shot at a fourth term in Albany to run for Congress against Towns, who was rumored to be eyeing retirement but has vowed in recent days to defend his seat.

Jeffries’ spokeswoman Lupe Todd declined to say who he’ll support, but stressed his close relationship with Mosley.

“The Assemblyman has worked closely with District Leader Mosley and regards him as a highly skilled public servant and asset to the community,” Todd said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Olanike Alabi as a labor organizer — she is actually an “executive secretary,” according to the healthcare workers union.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
That movie Devil In the Blue Dress with Denzel was pretty good, so I'm voting for Walter Mosley!
Jan. 19, 2012, 11:04 am
Nicole from Clinton Hill says:
The movie "True Leaders" was great and so I'm voting for Olanike Alabi.
Jan. 19, 2012, 10:59 pm
Paul from South Slope says:
And even though Kuntzman is supposedly no longer with this site, his stories about this race elsewhere have been decidedly pro-Mosely and unfair to Alabi...now this one with another pic of Mosely and quotes for professional spokespeople, and slanted???
What's up with that? Not that we're really looking for journalistic integrity from anything touched by Kuntzman
Jan. 20, 2012, 8:09 am
Olanike Alabi says:
For the purpose of journalistic integrity, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East has a very thorough process as it relates to employment verification. As of this morning, I confirmed that "the healthcare workers union" did not release any information to the press about my employment.

Olanike Alabi
State Committeewoman/District Leader
57th A.D.

Jan. 20, 2012, 3:55 pm
Charles from Park Slope says:
It's really low when people have to stoop and try to insult candidates rather than discussing real issues. Based on the past two comments and who the author favors, Obviously someone has a personal problem and it should be clear to everyone who it is or who they are.
Jan. 21, 2012, 10:57 am
Gloria Schultz from Prospect Heights says:
No one should be surprised by the negative comments. Women have to endure such nonsense when they run for office.
Jan. 21, 2012, 11:03 am
Gloria Schultz from Prospect Heights says:
No one should be surprised at the negative comments. Women have to endure such nonsense when they run for office or when they are in the political spotlight. Don't forget Hillary's run and Michelle Obama now.
Jan. 21, 2012, 11:09 am
Mary from Downtown says:
Boys will be boys!
Jan. 21, 2012, 11:18 am
Paul from South Slope says:
So what is it, Dan? Did you talk to the union or didn't you? Or is this what it looks like? You relied on someone out to get Olanike and now they're showing their true "colors" in the comments section?
Sheesh! this is one sorry excuse for a paper!
Jan. 21, 2012, 11:32 am
Brian from Fort Greene says:
Ola has my vote!
Jan. 21, 2012, 5:18 pm

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