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Brooklyn City Council Candidates Speak on Term Goals

By Fern Gillespie
On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 7th, five Brooklyn City Council Democrats are going unopposed: Chi Osse, District 36; Chris Banks, District 42; Crystal Hudson, District 35; Darlene Mealy, District 41 and Farah Louis, District 45. Our Time Press connected with Osse, Banks and Hudson to discuss their community successes and goals in the City Council.

Chi Ossé–District: 36 covering Bedford Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights
What do you think has been your community impact on the City Council?

I am very proud of my legislative successes, including passing life-saving legislation that provides anti-overdose medication across the city and a package of bills to tackle the rat problem. My most significant community impact is the accessibility of government. Too many Brooklynites feel they cannot get in touch with their elected officials to seek help, or that their views and needs are not fairly represented. Whether hosting neighborhood events or showing up at block parties or having the doors to my office open to the public, I hope my impact on the community can be seen in the renewal of the sacred relationship between government and citizens.

What are your goals for your next term on the City Council?
In the next term, my goals are largely focused on quality-of-life issues. In the previous term, I stood with tenants on strike and homeowners facing deed theft. I hope to pass legislation protecting these groups. Previously, I brought critical programs like our Wellness Wednesdays food and resource distribution to NYCHA houses. In this term, I’m pursuing further direct investment in homes and well-being of our NYCHA neighbors. We will build on our last term’s accomplishments and build brand new ones — fighting against waste and displacement and violence, and always fighting for you.

Chris Banks–District: 42 covering East New York, New Lots, Remsen Village, Spring Creek, Starrett City
What has been your impact on the community?

As a lifelong resident of East New York Brooklyn, I watched many in my community not receive help or proper guidance when attempting to deal with significant problems and issues they faced. This was particularly true of those facing housing crises. These led me to become a tenant and homeowner advocate and organizer who used my abilities to not only advocate and organize members of my community and teach them to do the same. I have also served as a model for many who have learned from my experiences that if they believe strongly in something, they must stay focused, committed, and tenacious.

What are your goals for your first term on the City Council?
My goals for my term in the New York City Council are to expand access to the housing growth that has taken place in the district to indigenous residents who have helped to build up this community without benefiting from the positive changes the district has seen. I also want to use my office to provide robust constituent services which many say have been lacking for too long. I’d like to focus on increasing the availability of quality programming for seniors and youth also focusing on quality of life and public safety-related issues.

Crystal Hudson — District: 35 covering Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant
What do you think has been your community impact on the City Council?
I am proud that I have introduced and passed critical legislation aimed at uplifting our marginalized neighbors and allocating resources to those most in need. I have passed the second most bills of any new Council Member this session, including addressing the Black maternal mortality crisis by expanding access to doulas and midwives; establishing a free universal childcare system task force and My Age in Place NYC providing free legal counsel for all older adults facing eviction. I wrote the Marsha & Sylvia Plan with the LGBTQIA+ Caucus which addresses the multifaceted needs of NYC’s LGBTQIA+ community. My Black Agenda for New York City is in the process of becoming the law of the land.

What are your goals for your next term on the City Council?
I plan on continuing the work of making New York City a better place for older adults to age in place, building more deeply affordable housing through community-led processes, expanding protections and support for LGBTQIA+ communities, and turning my Black Agenda for New York City into law. I will fight for our city’s most vulnerable, from our students to our older adults. I will plug in the gaps left in our systems like organizing weekly events in the summer for our district’s youth after the local Boys and Girls Club Clubhouse shutdown, hosting community trash pickups under the BQE and near other areas with significant litter, and organizing resource fairs and clothing drives for our low-income and new neighbors.