The Race to Fill Convicted Council Member Seat Heats Up

It was to no one’s surprise, Community Board Chair Adrienne Adams announced her candidacy to replace Ruben Wills. Adams, although a latecomer to the race, has some front runner status based on her recent run for NYS Senator last year. That bid was unsuccessful, however, many believed the true intent of the candidate was to test the waters with an eye for this City Council seat. She joins an election race already in progress featuring activist Richard David and attorney Hettie Powell.

Powell has been running for the seat since coming in third in the 2013 election against Wills. Adams entry into the race puts Powell at a disadvantage. They must go head to head for the same votes and most residents will be hesitant to reject the Party’s candidate. But this is where the election gets interesting.
The 28th District is primarily African American. However, it includes Richmond Hill which has a strong Indo-Caribbean population. That population is embracing candidate David for the seat. Adams’ entry into the election will likely turn into a battle of neighborhoods.

David has shown himself as a front runner with an early start and a plethora of small donations from a large number of residents. Adams, will be hoping that the African American community delivers the vote. However, that population is typically apathetic as reflected in low voter turnouts on Election Day.

The power and influence of Rev Floyd Flake, the Greater Allen Cathedral Congregation along with her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters, which most likely will be supporting Adams’ candidacy are formidable machines likely to bring out the vote. Add the Democratic Party support and the significant amount of money raised during her run for NYS Senator, and her chances improve dramatically.

However, in spite of all these pluses on Adams side, don’t count out David. Trumps antics against Muslims and immigrants have galvanized Indo-Caribbean communities to take a stand and get involved politically. These communities are also ripe to take a leadership role instead of continually falling second to needs of the larger African American population in the District.

Hettie Powell, Adrienne Adams

Then there is the failing of the Democratic Party to deliver in the last Presidential election. It supports a Black agenda only when necessary and recent buzz of unfair practices against party representative Congressman Joseph Crowley do not make potential voters feel warm and fuzzy about following a party line. District 28 is also an area with a double digit percentage of homeless shelters. Residents fighting for all Queens’ neighborhoods to have a fair share of such housing will remember the Democratic Party’s unchallenging support of Mayor deBlasio during the homeless crisis.

Will David have the numbers to effectively challenge Adams? Will Adams have the appeal to bring out the vote? These questions, and more, will be answered on Primary Day, September 12.§