Photo courtesy of Council Member Mathieu Eugene’s office

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today his endorsement for Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

“Mathieu Eugene is a trailblazer for this City. As the first Haitian-born Council Member, he embodies the kind of can-do spirit so many who call New York City home have. It has been a pleasure to work with him on our Summer Youth Employment Program to provide opportunity for many of our City’s young people, and I look forward to continuing our work together in the years to come. That’s why I’m endorsing him for re-election here today,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Eugene, who is up for re-election, is facing what many have speculated is a tough race for the history-making Council Member. The first Haitian American elected to New York City Council is being challenged by Brian Cunningham, Pia Raymond, Jennifer Berkley, and Rose St. Albord for his seat in the 40th Council District, representing Prospect-Lefferts, Ditmas Park, Flatbush, and East Flatbush.

Eugene won his seat in a 2007 special election and is seeking a third term. While his opponents have gained traction with voters, it remains to be seen if they have the political capital and support to make a real dent in the race. Eugene has out-funded both Cunningham and Raymond, raising  over $85,000, compared to Cunningham’s  nearly $32,000, Raymond’s $19,000 and Berkley’s $7,000.

One of the major issues of concern for residents of district 40 is affordable housing, which is still out of reach for many in the community. Developments in the district are currently offering one-person studios for $1,729 a month to applicants earning between $60,618 and $104,755 a year. However, the median household income in the area is a little over $45,000.

“The lion’s share of people in our district are facing housing security issues,” Cunningham said. “The AMI should really be taken from the communities in which the projects are being developed, not this wide net from the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester.”

Eugene also announced his support for the mayor today.

“Mayor de Blasio is a true progressive leader who understands the value of investing in our children. His work to create pre-K for every four-year-old has already had an incredibly positive impact on the children of this City. That, combined with his extension of temporary protected status for Haitian refugees, shows he has the kind of compassionate vision for the future we need now more than ever. It is because of this that I’m proud to endorse Mayor de Blasio for re-election,” said Eugene.

The Democratic Primary is slated for Sept. 12.

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