maxi eugene haitian candidate
Although he has made few personal appearances in the preceding months, Maxi Eugene made his pitch to voters at the poll site, during early voting. Photo by Sam Bojarski

While his campaign posters have adorned the windows of some small businesses in Flatbush for months, District 40 council candidate Maxi Eugene has made few, if any, public statements about his platform. 

The brother of term-limited incumbent Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Maxi Eugene has had a Facebook page, but no campaign website, for much of the race. A campaign website called peoplefirstofficial.com was just launched earlier this month, Maxi Eugene said. He has not returned messages inviting him to The Haitian Times candidate forum nor been seen in other public appearances.

But since early voting began June 12, Maxi Eugene was a fixture on the sidewalk outside the Erasmus Hall High School polling site. He joined fellow District 40 candidates, handing out campaign literature to voters. 

That literature, promoting Maxi Eugene’s 40 years living in the district, was riddled with grammatical errors and misspellings. 

Eugene, who lives on Linden Boulevard in Flatbush, said that his work as a private individual teaching English-language and technology skills to seniors inspired him to run for council. 

“I’m running for city council because I want to help people more and [help them get] to the next level,” said Eugene, 65. He also said he would advocate to fund trade schools and for business tax breaks, to attract jobs for working-class New Yorkers. 

Eugene is far behind in the fundraising race, raising just $7,724 in private money, per city records. Edwin Raymond has raised the most private funds in the race, with $98,041. Three other candidates, Rita Joseph, Josue Pierre and Kenya Handy-Hilliard, have each raised more than $50,000 in private funds, campaign finance data shows. The citywide primary election is scheduled for June 22. 

Joseph said she was “definitely surprised” to see Eugene campaigning outside the polling station alongside her. 

“He was missing in action until, what, early voting?” Joseph said. “We haven’t seen him at anything, none of the forums.”

Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America fellow. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.

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