Dominion of New York


September 10, 2012

3 State Assembly Candidates Vie to Fill Hakeem Jeffries’s Shoes

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Written by: Kelly Virella


rooklyn has an important election Thursday, September 13, that will decide who will fill the assembly seat left vacant by Hakeem Jeffries, the veteran Brooklyn assemblyman now running for Congress. All three of the candidates in the 57th Assembly District race — two women, Olanike Alabi and Martine Guerrier, and one man, Walter T. Mosley — are black. All have traditional political experience, but only one has Jeffries’s endorsement — Mosley.

The candidates have explained their backgrounds and platforms to blogs such as the Fort Greene Local, and Politicker. Here’s an overview of each candidate based on a synthesis of these blog posts and where available, campaign websites.

Olanike Alabi

Political experience: elected female Democratic District Leader of the 57th District in 2006, 2008, 2010
Education: Bachelor’s Degree from Philadelphia’s Temple University in philosophy and African American Studies, Masters in History from the University of London. She also attended Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

  •  housing: preserve rent stabilization and stem foreclosures
  • Atlantic Yards: dislikes the use of eminent domain and the Atlantic Yards Governance Act
  • employment: more resources for small businesses, better job  training programs
  • food: more money for local food pantries

Endorsements: As of August 24, District Council 37, a major union of city municipal workers; the Correction Officers Benevolent Association; the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500; District Council 1707, the Community and Social Agency Employees Union.

Political experience: elected community school board, 1999-2002; hired Educational Priorities Panel, 2002-2004; appointed Panel for Educational Policy, 2004 — ? , appointed the chief family engagement officer for the city Department of Education, 2007-?
Education: Bachelor’s Degree from Wells College in social economic policy

  •  more parental involvement in education
  • Atlantic Yards: It’s an opportunity to increase to employment and affordable housing. The community benefits agreement must be enforced.
  • employment: more startup business incubators, more extensive unemployment benefits
  • food: more money for local food pantries

Endorsements: As of August 15, none are listed.

Walter T. Mosley 

Political experience: worked for Governor David Paterson; elected male Democratic District Leader for 57th District, 2008, 2010; appointed NYS alternate delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Education: Bachelor’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University in criminology, Law degree from Howard University

  • Atlantic Yards: supports the project, but wants to see the community benefits agreement enforced
  • employment: more government contracts and tax breaks for small businesses. More job training programs and better K-12 education. wants to start a Clinton Hill Local Development Corporation
  • education: parents should have school choice
  • healthcare: more primary care alternatives and services, greater community input, no dangerous closures or mergers of area hospitals

Endorsements: As of September 7, Hakeem Jeffries, Councilwoman Letitia James, United Federation of Teachers, the Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46 (Local 46), The Teamsters Joint Council 16 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA).

About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.