Absentee Votes Allow Emily Gallagher, Phara Souffrant Forrest Declare Victory Over Incumbent Assemblymen

Absentee Votes Allow Emily Gallagher, Phara Souffrant Forrest Declare Victory Over Incumbent Assemblymen
Emily Gallagher (left) and Phara Souffrant Forrest (right).

BROOKLYN – Almost a month after elections, Emily Gallagher finally declared victory in the 50th Assembly District beating incumbent Joe Lentol. In Assembly District 57, Phara Souffrant Forrest declared victory against incumbent Walter Mosely. On June 23 Primary day, both candidates were trailing behind their opponents. But now that the absentee ballots have been counted, both will become new Assembly Members after the November election.

Forrest, a 31-year-old nurse from Crown Heights, had the backing of the Democratic Socialists of America and was endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“It was a long wait, but today we can finally say that we did it,” Forrest said. “Together, we made history by electing a socialist nurse in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years. With a powerful grassroots coalition, the help of over 1,000 volunteers, and the support of over 13,500 voters in Assembly District 57, we rose to meet this important moment.”

I am so honored and so proud to have the chance to represent my community. Our win is a victory for every person who is struggling in this state. It is a win for nurses without protective equipment, for Black and Brown people targeted by police violence and chronic disinvestment, for immigrants deprived of their democratic rights, for tenants who can’t make rent, and for the thousands of unemployed people struggling to survive. Our win is a rejection of politics as usual. This win shows that our time is now.

Thank you to everyone who supported our campaign. We are just starting our fight to build a New York that works for the many, not the few.”

Mosely has not yet made a comment on the results. Lentol, on the other hand, congratulated Gallagher on the win. He has been in office since 1973.

“It’s decided: The voters in the 50th Assembly District voted for change. It’s been a great honor to represent the people of North Brooklyn in the Assembly,” he said. “I’m proud of my years of service, delivering important legislation, and always attending to constituents’ needs.  My successor will be busy as the new Assembly Member. I wish her well as she faces the enormous challenges ahead.”

Gallagher, an activist and member of Community Board 1, had this to say:

“I can’t believe I am writing this but it’s official: we won. This was a collective and truly grassroots campaign, powered by a deep love for North Brooklyn and a desire to make it better. Thank you so much for believing in me, against all the odds. This is my home and I love it. Its sense of community, its long history of organizing, its tenants and workers, its parks and waterfront, small businesses, and cultural spaces. And I embrace our profound challenges too and the folks who’ve worked so hard for change.

I would not have been able to stay in this neighborhood without rent stabilization, full stop. I am not a career politician and I have spent most of my life living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not going to forget that. To be honest, I did not expect to win. But I ran anyway. I ran because I care about this community, I care about democracy, and I think it’s worth it to take big risks and to dream impossible dreams. What I learned today is that what might feel impossible is not.

When we act with urgency and clarity of vision, the world responds in kind. And I will take that energy to Albany. There is profound inequality, injustice, and corruption in our state. The pandemic has revealed it—and so much of our state’s response has made it worse. If there was ever a time that we could say ‘the world can’t wait,’ that time is now.

Assemblymember Lentol leaves behind him a terrific legacy of legislation on many important issues and stood with the community many times in important battles. He will go down in history and he has earned his place there. Joe is beloved by many and I’m excited to see all the good work he will do as a community member. I have a deep respect for him and those who love him, and I look forward to being his successor.”