With just days left until the special election that will decide who will represent the 45th District in the City Council, candidate Farah Louis is thinking about what she can accomplish in office if she wins the May 14 race.
“I look forward to leaving my district in a better way than I received it,” Louis told The Jewish Press. “I have met with people, heard about their struggles and I understand the district’s shortfalls. My goal is to get the district to a better place.”
Louis, who is in her thirties, was born and raised in Flatbush. A graduate of Midwood High School who got her bachelor’s at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, Louis has a master’s from New York University in public administration. She was covering a story on union workers as a journalist when she found herself counseling her subjects on how to enact change. Realizing that she had a flair and a passion for organizing, Louis spent the next ten years devoting herself to causes including women’s, girls and justice issues, while also working in health care at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She spent more than five years working as deputy chief of staff for City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who left the council in February when he was elected public advocate.
“I helped him create programming and brand himself, taking his career to the next level,” said Louis. “I helped him create 51 pieces of legislation, the largest amount by any councilman over a five year period.”
Drawing on that body of work, Louis hopes to beat seven other hopefuls in the upcoming race to fill the vacancy created by Williams’s departure, using her experience in his City Council office to hit the ground running. Not having to learn the ins and outs of the job will give Louis the ability to start immediately on what she said she has already been doing for years – meeting the needs of the constituents in the 45th District.
“I have managed and navigated budgets for the office and have worked on impactful, groundbreaking policies on behalf of the member,” said Louis. “I know the issues in the district and I know each part and what is happening. Not all of my opponents can say that or know what is happening throughout the district.”
Louis sees unaffordable housing and overcrowded schools as two of the main problems plaguing the district, which includes East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood. Those problems have proven to be critical, forcing people to relocate, said Louis.
“We end up losing great constituents who could benefit the district because they are educated or have good skill sets or small businesses,” noted Louis. “We end up losing really great people.”
Williams’s departure has created a void in the district, one that needs to be filled promptly, said Louis, who is confident that her core values of family and faith and her passion for the community will resonate with voters. While Louis hails from the 45th District’s large Caribbean community, she is proud to have cultivated relationships with Asian and Jewish residents as well and said that she would dedicate her time in office to creating a unified coalition that would meet everyone’s needs.
Louis found herself in an uncomfortable position recently when a comment that was perceived as anti-Semitic which she retweeted approximately ten years ago came to light. She issued a formal statement acknowledging that her remarks were inappropriate and that at the time she did not appreciate how offensive they were. Louis noted that she has apologized and has dedicated herself over the years to building bridges with the Jewish community and that she hopes to continue moving in a positive direction.
“I am a good friend, a proud supporter of all communities, and when elected I want to work on their priorities, because their priorities are my priorities,” said Louis.
Those sentiments appeared to have resonated with the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, which heartily endorsed Louis in a full-page declaration bearing the signatures of more than three dozen members of Flatbush’s Jewish community.
She has also garnered over thirty other endorsements from a wide array of individuals and entities including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Council members Justin Brannan, Chaim Deutsch, Helen Rosenthal and Kalman Yeger, Assembly members Rodneyse Bichotte, Kimberly Jean Pierre, Michaelle Solages, Clyde Vanel, Helene Weinstein and Jaime Williams, Kings County democratic leader Frank Sedido, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and multiple district leaders, unions and Democratic clubs.
Louis, a Christian, is deeply proud of both her religious and local roots, values that she said will guide her in the City Council, if elected.
“I am a woman of faith,” said Louis, adding, “that is how I live my life. A woman who serves G-d and people.”