The winners of the August 23 primary may be thought of as a fait accompli for the incumbents ending up on top, but that would be a mistake. A mid-term election with no excitement around it, can either be a plus for the incumbent or make supporters overconfident, and be surprised by a sudden challenge.
In elections where a low turnout is expected and the results seem preordained, every vote still matters. An unexpectedly high turnout demonstrates the importance of the community to candidates for all local offices, and in the case of congress, adds to the power of the winner nationally. Below are contested offices in our area for Congress and the State Senate. “Information compiled from candidates’ websites and Ballotpedia. DMG
Cong. Hakeem Jeffries, Incumbent
8th Congressional District
Hakeem Jeffries was selected to be chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in the 116th Congress and was previously a member of the New York State Assembly from 2007 to 2013.
He earned a B.S. in political science from State University of New York at Binghamton, a master’s in public policy from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from New York University Law School.
Congressman Jeffries was elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2018. In that capacity, he is the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda. Most recently, Congressman Jeffries served as an Impeachment Manager. Paying homage to his Brooklyn roots, Congressman Jeffries quoted The Notorious B.I.G. as he laid out House Democrats’ argument outlining the case against Trump.
Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Jeffries served for six years in the New York State Assembly. Prior to his career in public service, Congressman Jeffries practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and served as litigation counsel for Viacom Inc. and CBS. Congressman Jeffries received his bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton, earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and graduated magna cum laude at New York University School of Law. Congressman Jeffries was born in Brooklyn, is a product of New York City’s public school system, and currently lives in Prospect Heights with his wife and two sons.
Queen Johnson, Activist
Candidate, 8th Congressional District
Queen Johnson was born in New York, New York. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College in 2019. Her career experience includes co-founding a nonprofit.
“I’m Queen Johnson – a community organizer, mutual aid giver, public servant, and human rights activist running for U.S Congress in New York’s 8th District, which encompasses the Brooklyn and Queens communities.
“I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by my mother, a working-class single woman who relied on government assistance to make ends meet. We lived in a public housing development in a low-income, high-crime area. I received my education through New York’s public school system.
“I’m not new to protesting against injustices in our community. At the age of 13, I marched alongside Al Sharpton in our fight against police brutality. At that time, an NYPD officer had shot and killed my neighbor, unarmed 19-year-old Timothy Stansbury. A senseless loss that is all too common across America.
“When I couldn’t afford a college education, I took out student loans and made it my mission to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Economic Analysis. Learning how to break the cycle of poverty in our community became a goal of mine.
“I learned that the cycle can be broken by creating and improving access to jobs, raising the minimum wage, investing in agricultural programs, reforming our criminal justice system, and providing access to basic social services (education, healthcare, adequate food, sanitation, shelter, clean water). Currently, I’m the Co-Founder and Vice President of a nonprofit whose mission is to eradicate suffering by providing support and services to those who are in need.” www.queenforcongress.com
Cong. Yvette Clarke, Incumbent
9th Congressional District
Yvette D. Clarke (Democratic Party) is a member of the U.S. House, representing New York’s 9th Congressional District. She assumed office on January 3, 2013. Her current term ends on January 3, 2023.
Clarke (Working Families Party, Democratic Party) is running for re-election to the U.S. House to represent New York’s 9th Congressional District. There is no place like home. I should know — I still reside at my childhood home in Flatbush, experiencing firsthand the issues faced by Brooklynites.
First elected to Congress in 2006, I am currently serving as the only Black woman in the New York delegation. I have worked tirelessly to improve the lives and opportunities of constituents in New York’s 9th Congressional District (NY-9) — one of the nation’s most diverse districts. Since being elected, I have served as the chair, co-chair and/or founding member of several committees and caucuses including the Homeland Security Committee, Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, Medicare for All Caucus, Small Business Committee, Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Task Force, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Vice-Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. From housing, to immigration reform, education, and healthcare, I am proud of the work I have accomplished on behalf of the 9th District, having effectively represented my constituents while Democrats controlled the House and when we faced fierce opposition from Republicans at the beginning of my first term.
Given the current political climate, it is important that the 9th Congressional district is represented by someone who understands how policymaking works on both the local and federal level. During my time in office, I have passed legislation that increased funding for STEM programs. I support a student loan bailout program and free college for all. I am proud to have been instrumental in passing H.R. 4137, which created a discretionary grant program that encourages educational pursuits and job skill acquisition for individuals in state and federal prisons. https://voteyvette.com/
Candidate for State Senate District 25
Jabari Brisbane, Incumbent
Jabari is the Chair of the Children and Families Committee. As State Senator, he’s standing up against powerful interests in Albany who only want to protect corporations and the wealthy.
He’s fought for the funding, services, and policy changes that New Yorkers need to survive and thrive, especially in times of crisis. Jabari is a vocal advocate of raising taxes on the rich and of policies that place the needs of working-class people above corporate profits, including free universal healthcare, universal access to housing, free universal child care, and the cancelation of rent and mortgage arrears accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jabari is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America.
During his first term in office, Jabari helped:
-Ensure billions in new funding for public schools
Secure tenant relief funds and restrict foreclosures and evictions during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis
-End the use of long-term solitary confinement in New York State
-Establish a first-of-its-kind excluded workers fund for workers left out of state stimulus payments during the pandemic
-Win the first tax increase on billionaires in over a decade
-Restrict the imprisonment of individuals for parole violations
-Overturn the discriminatory ‘Walking While Trans’ law
-Pass legislation that automatically seals the records of youth in family court, allows for the adjustment of sentences of young people, and provides for the issuance of diplomas to incarcerated youth
Reverend Conrad Tillard,
Reverend Conrad Tillard is running to represent the 25th District in the New York State Senate. A Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, Tillard knows that the status quo isn’t working, and he’s committed to creating a district that works for all residents.
A Brooklyn pastor, service is Tillard’s life. From advocating for his parishioners and neighbors in the community, to fighting to enrich the communities where they and their families live, he has dedicated his life to serving others. Tillard is also an adjunct professor in the Black Studies Department at The City College of New York.
Reverend Tillard is focused on meeting the needs of those in the 25th State Senate District, a community where he has raised his family, and proudly called home for decades. He knows the issues that are important to his neighbors and congregants – and he won’t rest until they are addressed.
Conrad Tillard will finally give our community the effective representation in that it deserves, both locally and in Albany.
Tillard has been a critical force in New York City activism for 34 years. Conrad was born in St. Louis and raised in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of Francis L. Cardozo High School. A proud District 25 resident for more than 20 years, Tillard is running to represent District 25 in the New York State Senate as a Democrat. He understands acutely that the 25th District needs stable, dependable leadership. His history of activism and community leadership make him the only choice for this seat.
Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign galvanized Tillard into activism as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. The years 1986-1988 saw him lead the effort to organize the national Student Unity Conference and Congress, which hosted leaders like Kwame Touré, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Robert L. Woodson.
Tillard, formerly known as Conrad Muhammad, was a minister in the Nation of Islam and a protege of Louis Farrakhan in the 1980s and 1990s. He built a reputation as a mediator for rappers, earning him the nickname “the hip-hop minister.” He has since become a Christian pastor in Bedford-Stuyvesant and is running as a more moderate alternative to Brisport, with endorsements from state Sen. Kevin Parker and former New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. He reported $18,444 on hand in late July, with a major donation from the Striving for a Better New York PAC, which is associated with Mayor Eric Adams and intends to boost centrist candidates.