MEET THE CANDIDATES!
On Tuesday, May 14, there will be a special election for City Council to replace Jumaane Williams. We encourage you all to do your civic duty and take the time out of your busy day to go out and vote. The election results directly impact parts of Marine Park, and we here at the JCCMP feel it’s important to cover this election for our community. We want you to be able to make an educated decision on how to vote so we reached out to the candidates (Xamalya Rose, Monique Chandler-Waterman, Farah Louis ,and Adina Sash. We have not received a response from some of the candidates at the time of printing, so below are only the responses from those that answered.
Adina Sash -I grew up in Flatbush and went to BYA elementary and Manhattan High School for Girls. I attended Brooklyn College where I earned my BA and my MA degree. I have been married for over 13 years and I have two children. Over the years, I have been involved with non-profit organizations like Chai Lifeline, Tomchei Shabbos, Masbia, Bikor Cholim, Bein Ish, Bonei Olam, COJO, Charidy, Chochmat Nashim, and many others. I am also a vocal activist for the Jewish community- I have registered hundreds of millennials to vote, fought against anti-Semitism and discrimination, and have advocated for female empowerment.
Farah Louis- I’m a first-generation Brooklynite, an experienced leader in the City Council, an esteemed community organizer and publicist with over 15 years of experience and dedication to advocacy and public service. For the past six years I’ve served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for then-Council member Williams working on key legislative pieces and securing the necessary funding for our community. Additionally, I started Girls Leading Up (GLU), a non-profit organization that provides educational workshops, programs and mentorship opportunities to prepare young women to become tomorrow’s leaders.
2. What encouraged you to run in this election to replace Councilman Williams?
Adina-I look for every opportunity to encourage more people to get involved in local politics so that our voices can be heard and so that we can elect leaders who best service the community and the district at large. I am running in this race because I want to set a new standard – I want to be accessible and transparent and I want to serve the people before my paycheck. I am the best candidate in this race that can service all sides of the district.
Farah– I’m from Flatbush. I grew up here — this is where I shop, go to church, and went to public school. I know the disparities this district faces. I want to change the narrative for the people in my community. From being a journalist to deputy chief of staff, I’ve always been a public servant and look to continue doing so by pushing progressive legislation, managing budgets efficiently, and creating educational opportunities for everyone.
3. What are your thoughts on private education and the city or state dictating the subjects taught or the amount of time spent learning secular studies?
Adina-Our schools are more than just education centers, it is the students’ home away from home. I will continue to work to protect our yeshivas and our way of life. For the handful of yeshivos in other districts that may not be providing students with an adequate education, I will push to incentivize and reward the yeshivos for implementing higher education standards WITHOUT government intervention.
I have been a vocal critic of YAFED, an organization that has demanded that the government interfere with the way our yeshivos educate students in secular studies. Secular education is essential to a successful career, but we need to work together with schools, not force the government to interfere. Our district in particular has wonderful yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs with tens of thousands of graduates who go on to be very successful and self-sufficient individuals. Our schools should not be scrutinized by the Department of Education – this perpetuates unnecessary animosity.
Farah- I believe people who send their kids to private schools, should be seen as partners in educating the future children not have an us vs. them type of battle. As long as basic education
requirements are met, the government should not interfere in the schooling. Again it’s not about
hours x vs. y it’s about the quality, although basic standards must be met.
4. What are your thoughts about the city or state helping private schools with funding?
Adina-There are a number of other states and cities that provide real relief to yeshivah parents by providing extra funding for private schools. I want to bring those working systems here because our tax dollars are not working for us. We are paying taxes that are allocated for public schools and we don’t even utilize the system. While many would argue that this is a choice – keep in mind, that the state budget provides $22,000 per public school student for education, whereas non-public school students receive only $600. This discrepancy is terribly disappointing. We need to push for more STEM funding from the state budget for our schools alongside organizations like TeachNYS so that schools can save money on Master’s Level teachers and those savings can trickle down to parents so that we can start to mend our massive tuition crisis.
Farah- For secular studies I would consider it, the STEM taught in a Yeshiva is not different than what is taught in a public school.
5. What would you do as a city Council person to make our neighborhood a better place and what’s your vision for the community?
Adina-Places of worship are under attack around the world. I am committed to providing more security funding for our shuls and our yeshivas. As a city council member, I will condemn any antisemitism that stems from the extreme liberal left. I envision a community that has more resources for non-profit organizations that work toward protecting us and that’s why I have proudly pledged half my salary to go to such non-profit organizations.
Farah– I want to see more investments in economic and equitable housing development to combat the residency crisis in our district. With my platform, I want to demystify government bureaucracy and give folks easier access to the public resources to which they’re already entitled. I want to see partnerships between non-profits and local organizations so public officials can stay informed of the community’s needs.
6. What are your thoughts on the BDS movement?
Adina-The BDS movement creates a devilish picture of Israel by associating all the world’s negative political issues and painting Israel as the reason for why crimes against humanity committed exist. It attaches every Jew to Israel and calls for the destruction of Israel and the death of another 6 million Jews through political means. The BDS is violently anti-Semitic and I will oppose it every step of the way.
Farah– It is a movement that is associated with people that are openly anti-Israel, they are people not interested in a two state solution but rather to weaken and eventually destroy the Jewish state. BDS support cannot be on the to do list of any peace loving person and I would vote against it and speak against it.
7. How do you think our mayor is performing?
Adina-They say the hardest job in America is being the mayor of NYC. Mayor Deblasio promotes harmony, stands up for working families in the city, stands strongly for Israel and against the BDS movement. There are issues that need to be worked on like homelessness and the school system and I look forward to working with him.
8. What initiatives would you like to see happen in the city of New York?
Adina-I would like to see more support for local business owners and solutions for drivers who circle for 30 minutes before finding a parking spot. I want to help growing families remain in Brooklyn by assisting in rezoning for houses. The bus lanes on Kings Highway should be open for use at night. And of course, it’s time to fix the double parking all along the car dealership at Nostrand Avenue!
Farah- I believe the changes I want to implement in our district can benefit the city as a whole— access to affordable housing, especially for vulnerable populations such as seniors, disabled people, is an issue we can all get behind. I believe the entire city can better manage funds to bring equity back to schools, so that no child, no matter their race, religion, economic background, or ability, has to use an outdated textbook or sit in a crumbling classroom. I want to live in a New York where folks don’t have to compromise quality health care in order to afford a trip to the doctor.
9. What were some interesting experiences you have seen while visiting the district in running for election?
Adina-I have connected with thousands of people from all different backgrounds, and the same theme keeps emerging: people feel that elected officials aren’t accessible enough. We need local leaders who put the voices of the people front and center. Residents should have a say on how the budget is spent, and I will opt-into Participatory Budgeting so that YOU can select which projects are prioritized.
Farah– How truly diverse it is, not just ethnically and religiously but economically as well.
10. Any final thoughts?
Adina-It’s NOW or NEVER. Based on data, this is a rare opportunity with an unusual set of circumstances that allows you to elect a Jewish representative despite the fact that the Jewish community makes up only 18% of the district. This opportunity will not happen again. We must do our hishtadlus! Despite false rumors that are fueled by greed, WE CAN WIN. Call me 24/6 directly on my cell phone at 917-922-8105 with any questions, concerns, mussar, or chizuk.
Farah– I want to work for a district that works for everyone, regardless of who you are or where you come from. It would be an honor to have your support as we build a united 45!