Primary season is around the corner, and when it comes to political elections, being selfish is actually a good trait. It’s the one time you can ask: “What can you do for me?” We want representatives who will champion our cause, fight to uphold our standards and carry through with their promises. Being a good voter means being an educated one, and looking at the service of the candidates who have come forth from backgrounds as diverse as their districts can be indicative of whether they can keep the inspiring-sounding, grandiose promises they make. This year’s candidates come to the table with the perfect blend of grassroots’ background and involvement and higher-up political success.
Democrat Pam Harris, running for re-election in the 46th district, made history last year when she won the election to fill the 46th district seat left vacant and became the first black candidate to win a white majority district. “This was a big deal,” said Ari Kagan, a journalist and community advocate, in his blog post announcing his support for Harris. “By doing so she united the large district, bringing together African-Americans and Russian speaking immigrants, Asian-Americans and Orthodox Jews, and Italian and Irish constituents.” Harris is running against Kate Cucco.
Harris, a life-long resident of Coney Island, previously worked as a Rikers Island Corrections Officer, and founded the non-profit organization Coney Island Generation Gap (CIGG), which aims to “educate and empower youth to keep them off the streets and away from crime.” On what she hopes to accomplish in Albany if re-elected, Harris said, in an interview with Bensonhurst Bean, a news site serving the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn, that she hopes to continue to “pass strong bills that will help our families thrive, while make great strides in education and drug and alcohol programs, and strengthen our gun laws.” Harris told The Jewish Press that she hopes to continue to pass strong bills that will help our families thrive, if re-elected. This includes bills that would improve education, transportation, housing, drug and alcohol programs, as well as bills that would strengthen our gun laws.
She is currently a member of the Assembly Committees on Aging, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Children and Families, and Higher Education.
Democrat Tremaine Wright, running for New York State Assembly in the 56th district, will have big shoes to fill if she replaces Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, who has been the district’s representative since 2002. The former owner of Common Grounds Coffee House in Brooklyn, Wright told The Brooklyn Reader: “Supporting small business and the local economy is very important to me – it’s one of the pivotal points in my platform.” Wright grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and pursued a career in law at University of Chicago Law School, and served on the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee for more than a decade. Wright is supported and endorsed by her predecessor, Assemblywoman Robinson, and is running against Bedford Stuyvesant resident Karen Cherry.
“If there’s one thing I want voters to know, it’s that I am devoted to serving my community and here for everyone,” Assemblywoman Alice Cancel, an incumbent running in the 65th district, told The Lo-Down, a news website for the Lower East Side. Born in Puerto Rico, Cancel and her family later moved to the South Bronx and then the Lower East Side, where she currently resides.
Cancel worked for 26 years as the area’s District Leader and activist, and worked in the State Senate and in the New York City Comptroller’s office. Cancel was recently appointed to the Banks, Cities, Housing. and Social Services committees. Her priorities, as told to The Lo-Down, are issues like affordable housing and schooling.
Darlene Mealy, a Democrat, is running as the Council member for the 41st District of the New York City Council. The district includes Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Oceanhill and East New York in Brooklyn.
Council Member Mealy is running as the incumbent District leader / State Committee Woman in the 55th Assembly District. Born in Detroit and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Mealy was first elected to the City Council in 2006 and then re-elected in 2010. She used to chair the Contracts Committee where she ensured passage of legislation designed to “increase the transparency and efficiency of the city’s contracting process,” as she writes on her website. She now chairs the Civil Rights Committee.
Prior to joining the City Council, Mealy worked for 17 years in the Department of Buses Technical Services Division of the New York City Transit Authority. Mealy noted her top five issues of importance to be affordable housing, job creation, seniors, HIV, and the reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals, as reported by Citizen’s Union.