By Vania Andre
BROOKLYN, NY – Tomorrow, Haitian American political operative Josue Pierre will look to solidify his title of male district leader for the 42nd Assembly District in the state legislative party primaries. On Aug. 9, he was unanimously voted in as the new district leader for the district that covers Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood. A special meeting was called between the Kings County Democratic County Committee, the committee’s chairman, Frank Seddio, and then-former district leader, Ed Powell.
District leaders are unpaid elected officials, who serve on the executive committee of a county’s political party. As district leader, Pierre would be tasked with encouraging residents in his district to be more engaged in community affairs, voting to elect the next Brooklyn Democratic party leader and endorsing Democratic judicial and political candidates.
After losing the male district leader race to Powell in 2012, Pierre decided to run again, but this time decided to have a sit down with Powell, the then district leader, to “discuss his political aspirations.”
“Coincidentally for me, he said he was happy with what he’s done so far, and the time has come for him to retire. He nominated me for the position in his last act before.”
Pierre admits that he now has the advantage over him opponent in the race, but believes his work speaks for him. He cites his knowledge of the electoral process and the time he’s put in the community on a grassroots level as proof positive for his qualifications for the job.
Before 2010, many people didn’t know what a district leader was Pierre asserts. For him, and his colleagues, such as Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, they decided the role of district leader could play a more prominent role in the community than prior years. This included being given time to speak at events and gaining access to the public.
“We are a bridge between the people on the ground, and the electoral system,” Pierre said.
“Many years ago, district leaders served as the first pint of contact when you wanted to get anything done in local government. Recently we’ve moved away from that,” said Samuel Pierre, his campaign manager. Today, we’ve taken lessons from those that came before us and we are committed to helping our constituents and adding a personal touch on how government services the people.”
In 2012 Pierre unsuccessfully challenged Powell for the male district leader seat.
Seddio’s and Powell’s selection of Josue is a “big deal”,Sam Pierre says. “This has never been done.” This is the first time an emergency meeting was called to provide the sitting district leader with his successor.
Typically the district leader finishes his term and an election his held to pick his successor.
“This is the first time in history that the Haitian community in Brooklyn has full control of the Democratic Party in Flatbush – a neighborhood that we’ve occupied for decades.”
“We don’t want to take anything for granted,” (Josue) Pierre said in an email to supporters on the night of his political coronation. “We’re going to continue working hard and preparing for election day just as we had originally planned.”
Pierre was raised and lives in the Flatbush area. He was elected by the voters of the 42nd Assembly district in 2010, 2012 and 2014 to both the Democratic County Committee and the Judicial Convention. He has served as Land Use Chairman of Brooklyn’s Community Board 17, and was a Budget Delegate in the first 45th Council District Participatory Budget program. He is also a founding member of the Shirley Chisolm Democratic Club.