Public Advocate Jumaane Williams surprised the political world when he passed over his former deputy chief of staff and chose instead to endorse an East Flatbush civic leader in the special election to fill his old City Council seat.
Williams’ endorsement of Monique Chandler-Waterman, which he officially announced on Wednesday, also opened the floodgates as several other Brooklyn elected officials followed his lead and announced their support for Chandler-Waterman. State Sen. Kevin Parker, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymember Nick Perry and Councilmember Laurie Cumbo are among the lawmakers who have now endorsed her.
In endorsing Chandler-Waterman, Williams passed over Farah Louis, who had served as his deputy chief of staff for six years.
City & State was the first to report that Williams had decided to endorse Chandler-Waterman.
Chandler-Waterman and Louis are part of a crowded field of candidates running in the May 14 special election in the 45th Council District, a seat Williams held for nearly a decade until he won the special election to fill the public advocate’s post vacated at the beginning of this year by now-New York state Attorney General Letitia James.
In addition to Chandler-Waterman and Louis, the list of candidates includes Anthony Alexis, Victor Jordan, Jovia Radix, Xamayla Rose, Adina Sash and Rickie Tulloch. Two other hopefuls who had hoped to make the race — Hercules Reid and Anthony Beckford — have been booted from the ballot by the Board of Elections, according to Bklyner.
The district includes East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, and parts of Marine Park and Midwood.
Chandler-Waterman is the founder and CEO of East Flatbush Village, a non-profit organization that works to fight against violence.
“Monique is an accomplished community organizer and activist who has worked alongside me for the past decade fighting for justice, fairness and equity for all,” Williams said in his endorsement statement. “She has what it takes to be an activist elected official and carry on our work in the community and City Council, which is why I’m proud to endorse her grassroots campaign.”
Chandler-Waterman told City & State on Tuesday she was delighted that Williams had endorsed her. “People love the work that he has done in this community, and they respect him greatly, and respect his decision of who he would like to take the baton and hit the ground running,” City & State quoted her as saying.
Williams, Parker and Cumbo made their endorsements official at a rally in Flatbush on Wednesday.
“Out of all the candidates currently running in the 45th Council District, Monique is the most qualified and the only one who has clearly exhibited their love for our community through her life of public service,” Parker stated. “Whether it’s leading the ‘Not In My Hood March’ against gun violence, or being the first person on the scene when trouble or despair strikes our community, Monique is always there when you need someone.”
Chandler-Waterman expressed gratitude to Parker for the endorsement. “Senator Kevin Parker has always supported and encouraged my community efforts, and I appreciate his service and backing over the years. We’ve worked together to combat gun violence, improve our district’s affordable housing stock and increase opportunities for our youth to learn and grow in a safe place,” she said.
But while Chandler-Waterman had a big day on Wednesday, Louis also has her share of major endorsements from Brooklyn political leaders, including Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Frank Seddio and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte.