Governor Kathy Hochul called for a special election to replace long-time Assemblymember Nick Perry in the 58th Assembly District, who is officially leaving office to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. The election will be held on Tuesday, May 24.

“Ambassador Nick Perry has led an illustrious career, and with his distinguished appointment he continues his trajectory forward. We wish him all the best in his new role as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica,” said Hochul in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve to be represented in the fullest capacity, and an election to fill the Ambassador’s seat is necessary to ensure their voices are heard.”

Community activist Monique Chandler-Waterman, former aide to Mayor Eric Adams, Hercules Reid, and school administrator Otis Danne Jr. are all running to fill the vacant seat.

“People don’t trust government, so there’s alot of us trying to change that but it starts with people going for the right people in office and them being able to trust the system again,” said Chandler-Waterman.

Chandler-Waterman was born and raised in East Flatbush. She was Perry’s special assistant, works in the City’s Test and Trace Corp, and runs her non profit East Flatbush Village with her husband. Waterman founded the non profit in 2008 and it’s become a major youth and education organization that focuses on combating gun violence in Brooklyn.

In 2012, Waterman worked with then-Councilmember Jumaane Williams as the director of Community Outreach. She ran for City Council in District 45 in 2019, but lost to now-Councilmember Farah Louis.

Perry is backing Chandler-Waterman to replace him as assemblymember, reported the Brooklyn Paper.

“There’s a lot that’s thrown at one individual as an elected but I know it takes a collective voice of the community to basically say this is what’s needed. But they have to be educated and included in the process,” said Chandler-Waterman.

Dennis James, who is the Block Association president for East 51st Street, said that Chandler-Waterman cares for the seniors and the young in the district.

“Gun violence, believe me when I say it starts at home. You nurture these kids the right way so they don’t have to go around and pick up with negative influences,” said James about the main issue facing the district.
On a state level, Chandler-Waterman said she sees gun violence as an extension of debilitating housing issues and stability, lack of equity in education, public health, food disparities, and immigration challenges.

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

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