BROOKLYN, (KINGS COUNTY POLITICS NEWS SERVICE) – In a move that will help consolidate Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte’s growing political power in Flatbush and Ditmas Park as well as reflecting the changed demographics of the area – from predominately Jewish to predominately Caribbean – Josue Pierre announced his candidacy for the male district leader of the 42nd Assembly District last night.
The announcement came at Bichotte’s Shirley Chisholm Democratic club meeting with Bichotte and club president Blondell Lighty in attendance. Both Bichotte and Pierre are proud Haitian-Americans and represent the growing Haitian-American political power in the borough.
Pierre is currently the chairman of the 42nd Assembly district democratic county committee, which is the official committee for the Democratic Party in Brooklyn.
Pierre will run against the current male district leader, Ed Powell, should he choose to run for reelection. In 2012, Pierre actually ran against Powell, losing the election to the current leader.
Powell, the longtime president of the 70th Police Precinct Community Council, also worked for Bichotte’s predecessor in the Assembly, Rhoda Jacobs.
Towards the end the club meeting, Pierre rose to give a short speech on his candidacy.
“Six years ago there were fewer people civically engaged in our community. People were involved in the presidential election, but we didn’t know what was going on down the block in our communities. At the time, very few knew what a district leader was. We were voting for the Democratic Party but had no voice within the party: We had a lot of frustrations in the community. A lot didn’t even know that there was an affordable housing crisis. We had issues with the quality of our schools, and we had issues with the lack of jobs. We had no way of expressing this to our Democratic Party. What did we decide to do? A small group of us decided to elect a new female District Leader and decided to form this club. Since then, we’ve had a voice within the Democratic Party,” said Pierre.
The district leader he is referring to is Bichotte, who was a district leader before she was elected for state office.
“Now, people know we exist. Now, there are people who are engaged and there are people who care. I know that our concerns will no longer be ignored, and that our agenda will be heard. We want opportunity for good paying jobs. We want opportunity for quality education, we want opportunity for quality affordable housing. We want opportunity to create wealth and to grow our own businesses. We want an opportunity for a safe community where we can grow old. This is what I call the opportunity agenda.
“How do we continue to make this a realty and not just talk? We need both the male and female district leader to make this organization whole. So, today, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce in front of my friends, community members, and club members that I, Josh Pierre, am running for male district leader.
“It takes a lot of hard work, but we’ve done this before many times. I want to finish by saying it starts tonight, and it starts with you and me. If we come together, we can change things in this community and in this state.”
Asked about what his main goal would be as District Leader, Pierre said that civic engagement would be a top priority. “The whole idea of civic engagement is to get the whole community to understand the process and be empowered to voice their concerns. I also want to see the Democratic part of Brooklyn to be responsive to the community. Brooklyn is the largest democratic county organization in the United States.”
On the subject of pursuing higher office, Pierre had this to say. “Right now I want to focus on just District Leader, and get done what needs to be done. Higher office comes with its perks, but having started from the bottom, I appreciate the value of building blocks and showing people what you can do. I am not looking at higher office, but would not foreclose that opportunity.”