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Snippets From The 40th Council District Debate

Last night BKLYN Commons large gathering room was packed. People were leaning against walls and spilling into balcony. All to hear from candidates for the 40th Council District, representing PLG, Flatbush and Ditmas Park.

People kept stopping by all evening as they were coming home, some with children in tow.

We’d like to extend our thanks and congratulate the event organizers, neighbors Seth Kaplan, Calista DeJesus, Uchenwa Hannah Njoku, Cheryl Sealey, Brenda Edwards, Emily Leshner and moderator Duane Joseph, for putting on such an impressive event.

Moderator Duane Joseph started right on time at 7:00pm.

The candidates were given 3 minutes each to introduce themselves and tell us why they were running for the office, which was then followed by a series of questions from moderators and those submitted from the audience.

Mathieu Eugene showed up at 7:37pm, well into the evening.

Mathieu Eugene is the incumbent District 40 Council member. He was the first Haitian-born elected official in the NYC council. Some of the issues he stands for are: expanding employment opportunities in his district, ensuring quality education with small class sizes, supporting immigrant rights, and improving affordable housing opportunities. He was elected in a special election (which had to be re-run because it turned out he did not live in the district) to serve out the remainder of Yvette Clarke’s term when she became our current Congresswoman. He’s been re-elected twice since, and is running for a third term, even though he voted against allowing more than two terms when the issue came up under the Bloomberg administration.

Here is what he says why we should vote for him:

Brian A. Cunningham was born and raised in Flatbush.

He began his career as a student advocate counselor in Brooklyn, worked his way up to being an aide to State Senator Kevin Parker, and then serving as Council Member Laurie Cumbo’s Chief of Staff. Some of the issues he stands for are: making affordable housing affordable, supporting small businesses, increasing funding for senior services, supporting arts and recreational programs, as well as cultural institutions.

Here is what he says why we should vote for him:

Pia Raymond is a Prospect Lefferts Garden native and a fifth generation Brooklynite.

She is currently involved in many community efforts such as serving as the vice president of Lefferts Manor Association. In a recent interview with us, we caught up with her as she was on a listening tour speaking to merchants. She is bilingual (in Spanish) and believes that the skill allows her to better communicate and connect with people. Some of the issues she stands for are: supporting immigrant rights, quality education and equal rights for women.

Here  is what she says why we should vote for her:

Jennifer Berkley lives in Ditmas Park and spends her time fighting for affordable housing.

In 2015, she ran for the Brooklyn Democratic Party County Committee and won Kings County’s only contested County Committee seat. She served for one term. Some of the issue she stands for are: supporting small businesses, better public transportation and protecting human rights for everyone.

Here is what she says why we should vote for her:

Rose St. Albord was born in Haiti and raised in East Flatbush.

Ever since she was a young girl, she was involved in providing food for the hungry and donating clothes to the poor. Some of the issues she stands for are: affordable housing, better schools, women’s rights and healthcare, better transportation and immigration.

Here is what she says why we should vote for her:

We’ll follow up with a deeper analysis of candidates positions later in the week, below is the full audio so you can listen when you get a moment, and here is the fragment of responses to the question of – if you were the current councilman, what would you have done differently, to which Mathieu Eugene was given 2 minutes to respond:

With additional reporting by Zainab Iqbal.

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