BROOKLYN – Alicka Samuel cruised to victory in the Democratic primary Tuesday night, snagging the City Council seat for District 41 by nearly 10 points, according to the city Board of Elections.
Samuel, a Brownsville native with experience working in city and state government — as well as a stint serving the U.S. Embassy in Ghana — was voted in as the Democratic nominee for portions of Bed-Stuy, East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Brownsville and Ocean Hill.
Samuel took 31.4 percent of the vote, beating out her biggest rival Henry Butler, the District Manager of Community Board 3, who came in second with 22 percent of the vote, according to BOE records.
She faces no challenger in the Nov. 7 general election, so Samuel will replace Councilwoman Darlene Mealy, who reached her term limit this year.
Speaking wth DNAinfo New York Wednesday morning as she ate breakfast, having just sent her 11-year-old son to school after a long 24 hours of campaigning and then celebrating, Samuel said she was still getting over the sensation of victory.
“I’m filled with a lot of joy and happiness that the community came out to support me,” she said in a telephone interview. “I went into yesterday thinking ‘we got this,’ because we put in the work, but you can never feel overly confident because you never know.”
According to Samuel, her first priority will be to work to bring affordable housing to her district, including programs to help residents buy their homes.
“I would like to see housing in the district that speaks to mixed income for everyone, as well as options to purchase a home,” she said. “Housing is everyone’s focus right now, so it has to be my focus.”
Samuel is set to replace Darlene Mealy, who ws term-limited, and who recently won the dubious honor of being named “worst City Counselor” by Gotham Gazette due to her low attendance rate and her failure to introduce a single bill in 2016.
The incoming councilwoman, who ran against Mealy in 2005 and lost, said she’s spent the past 12 years involving herself in the concerns of her neighbors and fellow residents of District 41, and doesn’t plan to stop making herself visible now that she’s headed to City Hall.
“12 years later I’m still here, and the reason I have so much support is that I have continued to work in the district, around NYCHA issues and tenant advocacy,” she said. “Everyone has my telephone number, everyone knows where I live. The residents of the district are finally going to have a representative who has always been in the community.”
Samuel rode to victory with the help of endorsements from Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as a host of progressive politicians and activist groups, including the Working Families Party, the New Kings Democrats, Planned Parenthood of New York City, and the good-government group Citizens Union.
Butler, a longtime former subway conductor, had garnered the support of the Transportation Workers Union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, and the influential Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, and along with it the members of that political club including Councilman Robert Cornegy and Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright.