NEW YORK CITY CIVIL COURT JUDGE, KINGS COUNTY (BROOKLYN):
Turquoise Haskin (Democrat)
The Jewish Press endorses Turquoise Haskin for judge of the civil court in Kings County, Brooklyn. She is an experienced attorney both in private practice and government. Her campaign has stressed that her longtime involvement in the judicial process well equips her to serve on the civil court bench – and we heartily agree.
Ms. Haskin has served in the New York Unified Court System since 2009 and is currently principal law clerk to Justice Carolyn E. Wade of the Brooklyn Supreme Court. Over the course of her 14-year tenure in Kings County Civil and Supreme Courts, Haskin has been directly involved with the adjudication and resolution of thousands of cases.
She is also a Special Referee for Uncontested Matrimonial Matters, and she has presided over several trials as a small claims arbitrator. “People often come before the court in emotionally and economically troubling chapters in their lives,” Haskin said at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Martin Luther King Jr. tribute in January. “We need jurists who understand that the vulnerability of litigants must be carefully considered when administering justice. The diversity of my professional and community background has provided me with the comprehensive legal knowledge, insightful empathy and professional temperament necessary to treat all people impartially no matter who they are or where they come from.”
Haskin also previously worked in the tax incentive unit at the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where she determined developers’ eligibility for tax abatements on development projects; and in the office of the state Attorney General.
At the same event, Haskin – a lifelong New Yorker of African-American and Jamaican descent – said her upbringing sparked her passion for obtaining justice for those who need it.
“My parents taught me at a young age the value of hard work, which best equips me to serve the people of Brooklyn with equality, justice and fairness,” she said. “Their guidance informs my approach to the law, because I know the values of discipline, impartiality and empathy. My personal and professional experiences have afforded me the ability to truly listen to the testimonies of all litigants involved in a case with the highest sensitivity, measure and consideration. I connect well to every day New Yorkers, because I am one.”
CITY COUNCIL, 47TH DISTRICT (BENSONHURST,
CONEY ISLAND, GRAVESEND, AND SEA GATE):
Ari Kagan (Republican)
The Jewish Press endorses Ari Kagan for the Republican nomination for the City Council, 47th District. As a longtime professional journalist turned public servant – most recently a member of the City Council representing the 47th Council District before the recent district maps redesignation – Mr. Kagan proved himself on Jewish issues as well as issues facing the general community.
For 21 years, Kagan hosted a radio and TV show, reporting on tenants and immigrants rights and raising civic awareness. His reporting on important matters transformed into a platform from which to advocate and lead on issues that mattered most to his community. As the son of Holocaust survivors, confronting hate, bigotry, racism, and antisemitism were always uppermost on his agenda.
From the time of his election as the Democratic District leader in the 45th Assembly District in 2012, Kagan worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he helped to secure relief payments for Coney Island residents. During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, he aided constituents across zip codes in his District to obtain unemployment benefits; he also hosted food drives and coordinated private donations for Coney Island Hospital essential workers, delivering meals to those in need and distributing masks and PPE to local businesses.
In addition to his work on the New York City Council over the years, Kagan has always continued to use his print and broadcast journalism background to promote issues and highlight community events and important local and national news.
CITY COUNCIL, 48TH DISTRICT:
Inna Vernikov (Republican)
The Jewish Press endorses Inna Vernikov for the 48th Council District (Brighton Beach, West Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Gravesend and parts of Midwood and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn). She is a highly regarded immigration and matrimonial attorney and staunch advocate for our community’s issues. She is someone who has earned our support.
As a member of the New York City Council, she organized a rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City. She also organized a march against antisemitism after two Jewish teenagers were assaulted for wearing a hoodie with the logo of the Israel Defense Forces.
When the faculty at City University of New York Law School passed a resolution supporting Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, Vernikov announced she would pull $50,000 in Councilmember funding for the law school.
Currently, she is heavily involved in mobilizing assistance to those in need in her district. She is a board member and Women’s Committee Chair for Americans Against Antisemitism; and a Chair at Legion Self Defense, an organization that provides self-defense and active shooter training.
CITY COUNCIL, 43RD DISTRICT (SOUTHERN BROOKLYN):
Wai Yee Chan (Democrat)
We endorse Wai Yee Chan in Democratic Primary to represent the 43rd Council District (Southern Brooklyn).
Wai Yee Chan is one of several candidates vying for the position of New York City Councilmember for Brooklyn’s District 43, which was redrawn in last year’s redistricting process. The area includes the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and Gravesend.
There is no incumbent running in the 43rd this year. The Jewish Press interviewed the candidate a while back and were very much impressed.
The candidate taught thousands of New Yorkers English as a second language (ESLs; and she also created youth, senior, and immigration programming as the Brooklyn Director of the Chinese-American Planning Council, the nation’s largest Asian American social service provider. She currently runs two senior centers, which provide multi-social services to Southern Brooklyn’s older adults. She also was the Director of Community Engagement in the office of Councilman Justin Brannan, where she impacted the lives of thousands in the district.
Ms. Chan says she sees several key issues facing residents of the 43rd, amongst them public safety, education, and the ability to age with dignity. She says she is running to ensure the full funding of police (“We need more police on the streets, not less!”), the expansion of mental health services, getting illegal guns off the streets, and increasing funding to combat hate crimes. She says she will move aggressively to combat hate crimes including seeking substantial support for the City’s Hate Crimes Task Force. Greater investment in education and senior services are also top priorities for her.
We also need to fund mental health, diversion, and violence interrupter programs to help stop crime before it happens. “I want to use my office to help bring people together, to create events to showcase and celebrate the variety of cultures across southern Brooklyn, as well as help folks file and follow up with police reports,” said Ms. Chan.
Chan noted that she has maintained a relationship with the Jewish community in the district (including with the JCH in Bensonhurst), and looks forward to strengthening it. She says we all share common concerns and an interest in making southern Brooklyn a great place to live and raise a family.