A community leader in Eric Adams’ crew, Hercules E. Reid was the first to launch a campaign, on Thursday, Nov. 18, for Assemblymember Nick Perry’s seat. President Joe Biden is planning Perry’s nomination as U.S ambassador to Jamaica, his native country, leaving open the position he’s held in the 58th Assembly District in Flatbush, Brooklyn since 1992.
Reid, 29, is a second-generation Jamaican, East Flatbush resident, and an active community organizer and assistant to the Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Ingrid Lewis-Martin. He said his political experiences upstate and in New York City will make him a good state rep.
Reid spent the last year and a half entrenched in Eric Adams’ borough hall office as Adams battled the COVID-19 crisis in Brooklyn, and then with Adams in his subsequent run for mayor of New York City. Adams was voted the second Black mayor-elect in November 2021.
Often seen at social and criminal justice rallies and protests throughout the city, on a bike raising awareness for voting rights and the census count, and next to Adams on the campaign trail, Reid said that he’s decided to return to his dream of holding office. “I think that it’s easy to go and get a job now,” said Reid, “but I’m turning it down to serve the people.”
He said the main criticism he gets is that he’s still too young to win. He hopes to change that narrative by being a “results Democrat” that keeps the youth involved in his platform while focusing on education, housing, and equitably disseminating resources to the community.
Born and raised in New York, Reid mainly grew up in the town of South Fallsburg. His parents were both hard working Jamaican immigrants. His father was a union carpenter with Local 157 and his mom an educator. His father commuted three hours to the city for work everyday. “It goes back to the immigrant story, you did what you had to do,” said Reid, “and that grind, that grit, that passion, I now inhabit that because I watched what it took to not have it easy but still wake up everyday and be committed.”
Reid was a CUNY (City University of New York) student activist, fighting for tuition and faculty contracts freezes and other campus issues. He served as president of City Tech student government before graduating with a degree in Architectural Technology. Reid said it was hard to afford living space in Brooklyn and slept where he could while going to school and working.
Inspired by his father’s union organizing and his time in student government, at 26 he made his first run at city government as the youngest candidate in the 45th City Council District’s special election in 2019 to replace then Councilmember
Jumaane Williams. Reid was all but crushed in the city council race.
He had reached out to Adams then for support in the race. Adams had already “agreed” to other obligations and could not offer any endorsement. It worked out later since he ended up getting a job and a wealth of experience, said Reid. At one point, during last year’s COVID lockdown, Reid said he volunteered to be Adams’ driver and was on the ground all over the city handing out food, resources, and PPE.
Reid filed with the state’s campaign finance board “undeclared” back in September. He doesn’t want to overly rely on his mentor’s help now, but he said he is utilizing the same fundraising tactics and some connections he’s made to get an early start.
“[I’m] scared but I feel at peace because I feel that things are just coming together,” said Reid. “Especially compared to my city council race, I’m in a much better space.”
Perry hasn’t been officially made an ambassador yet and the Senate doesn’t go back into session until January to vote him in, so a special or primary election to replace him is months off. At an event in Flatbush Gardens on Monday, Nov. 22, Perry was reluctant to comment on Reid’s announcement but confirmed that he had not publicly said that he wouldn’t run for reelection. Perry said that he had spoken to Reid in the past but doesn’t recall his proposal to run for his seat.
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” said Perry when asked how he felt about the impending race. “I’m blessed and honored to represent the people in my district and will continue to do so until God willing I’m sworn in elsewhere.”
Other candidates reportedly gearing up for the assembly race are District Leader Cory Provost, organizer Monique Chandler-Waterman, and community leader Joan Bakriddin.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w