BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT CANDIDATES FORUM
TUESday, May 11 @ 5:30PM EST
Continuing the crucial conversations begun during our NYC Mayoral Candidates Forum, Bike New York will keep the momentum running through Bike Month with a series of Borough President Candidates Forums. We’ll travel borough by borough and hold one-on-one discussions covering each candidate’s vision for cycling and street safety, moderated by Bike New York’s Advocacy Director Jon Orcutt.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
ROBERT E. CORNEGY, JR.
Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. is a native New Yorker and NYC Council Member representing the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods of the 36th District. Robert currently serves as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, Chair of the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Task Force (M/WBEs), Chair of the Democratic Conference, and a member of the influential Budget Negotiating Team (BNT). He previously served as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Small Business, and is dedicated to helping small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses, navigate the bureaucracy faced in running their operations and in contracting with the City.
Kim Council is a nonprofit executive, respected faith leader, senior reference law librarian at Sullivan and Cromwell, a dedicated community servant, and mother of two running for Brooklyn Borough President. She holds a B.A. in political science from North Carolina Central University, an HBCU, where she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha, and an M.S. in Library Science from the Pratt Institute.
Kim has served her community as a minister at Berean Baptist Church and as the Executive Director of the Berean Community and Family Life Center, where she provided preventative health care, programs for youth and seniors, and a food pantry; as President of the East New York Housing Development Corporation, where she spearheaded the construction of a thousand of units of truly affordable housing; as Vice Chair of the Local Development Corporation of East New York, where she provided resources to small businesses.
Kim grew up in Bedford Stuyvesant and currently resides in Cypress Hills.
Khari Edwards is an experienced leader in healthcare and government, most recently serving for eight years as the Vice President of External Affairs at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center. Khari made history as the hospital’s first Vice President of color. During his tenure, Khari crafted and executed a strategic plan to build community trust with the 1.3 million Brooklynites who live in neighborhoods serviced by the hospital.
Khari is also credited with spearheading a new initiative to increase census engagement in Central and North Brooklyn; creating the “It Starts Here” program, which connected over 2200 students with victims of gun violence; and organizing 250 union members, healthcare professionals, elected officials, and community stakeholders to address health, housing and employment disparities in East Brooklyn.
Khari has worked for several elected officials, non-profit organizations, and city agencies where he focused on strengthening communities and connecting Brooklynites to vital social services. During his time with the State Legislature, Khari worked with every hospital in Brooklyn to address healthcare inequities and potential hospital closures. As the Brooklyn Council President for Make-A-Wish New York, Khari led a two-year campaign to enlist volunteers to enroll over 400 wish granters for children in Brooklyn.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Khari Edwards is the son of immigrant parents from Trinidad and Guyana. Khari married his wife Jahmila Edwards in 2018 and has 3 children.
Robert Elstein is an outsider to politics, a proud teacher, an artist, a poet, a theater person, a fun dad & a keen political observer. He is a fifth generation Brooklynite who believes the political system is beyond broken.
Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene made history in 2007 by becoming the first Haitian-born official elected to the New York City Council. He was also the first to win his seat overwhelmingly in two special elections just a few months apart, causing some to dub him “The Haitian Sensation.”
The reason for Dr. Eugene’s success is that he has dedicated his life to community service. In Brooklyn, he has been well known and respected for many years as a community leader, educator, health professional, and founder of the non-profit organization, YES (Youth Education and Sports). This organization, which served thousands of New York City youth and their families from diverse backgrounds, promoted self-esteem, discipline, respect, and skill development in preparation for success in school and life. Many of those young people have become doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, and some of them are part of his City Council staff.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Committee on Civil and Human Rights, and is the former Chair of the Committee on Youth Services, and The Veterans Committee. He is a member of The Committee on Health, Aging, Immigration, Veterans, Youth Services, and Hospitals. He previously served as a member of Community Board 14, as a Co-founder of the Committee for the Development of Northern Haiti, as President of the Haitian Community of Holy Innocence Church, and as a member of the Aesclepius Medical Society.
A longtime advocate for youth, Council Member Eugene has dedicated his life to ensuring that all students have the opportunities they need to succeed and reach their full potential. As the former Chairman of the Youth Services Committee, he has worked tirelessly with children’s advocates and colleagues to restore funding to summer and after-school programs facing budget cuts, and to expand the Summer Youth Employment Program from 35,000 to 75,000 slots. He is also the former Chair of the Committee on Veterans and advocated to bring the Veterans Treatment Court to the five boroughs to better serve the mental health needs of veterans suffering from PTSD.
Council Member Eugene is a strong supporter of the labor movement and believes that unions are essential to creating good paying jobs and improving workers’ quality of lives. He is committed to partnering with labor unions in the fight for improved working conditions and equal rights for workers. He has spent his career providing critical services and resources to those who need them most, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, or ethnicity, and has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.
PEARLENE S. FIELDS
Pearlene S. Fields was born and raised in Brooklyn. She grew up in Flatbush, where she currently resides, and is an active member of Community Board 17’s Land Use committee and is the Housing committee chair.
She completed undergraduate school at Pace University in New York and graduate school at Middlesex University in London where she studied international Relations. She spent the majority of her career working at various non-profit organizations like The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), UNICEF, and most recently at the United Nations Secretariat in the Department of Peace Operations, Office of Military Affairs where she assisted the Chief of Staff in the front office.
Pearlene has been a board trustee to the Sierra House, an organization that assists homeless mothers and their children, for 10 years serving as the President of the Board of Directors for the last 3 years.
Pearlene is running for Brooklyn Borough President in order to empower people to use their voice, to give power to the powerless, to get justice when there is none, and to bring hope to communities that are often abused, impoverished, or overlooked. She believes housing and healthcare is a human right, and as a native New Yorker from a marginalized community, Pearlene is running to ensure our public safety, to ensure education parity, to ensure real affordable housing, and to support all small businesses.
Antonio Reynoso represents Brooklyn’s 34th Council District, including Bushwick, Ridgewood, and Williamsburg.
Born and raised on Williamsburg’s Southside to Dominican immigrants, Antonio was elected to the Council in 2013 by defeating former political boss Vito Lopez. He is serving in his second term in office, where he has focused on improving the quality of life for his constituents while advancing bold, progressive legislation citywide.
JO ANNE SIMON
As a community activist, disability civil rights lawyer, and a NY State Assemblymember, Jo Anne Simon is a forceful advocate for Brooklyn. She has worked to give Brooklyn’s communities a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, reduce gun violence, promote environmental justice, increase affordable housing, support small businesses, improve transit and street safety, and improve access to education.
Jo Anne was elected to represent the 52nd District of the New York State Assembly in 2014. She has passed major legislation on campaign finance reform, gun violence prevention, gender equity, and education. She has championed free school meals for all children. Jo Anne helped secure equal pay for equal work, paid family leave, and sexual harassment protections. She chairs the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance and Co-Chairs the Legislative Ethics Commission.
She has fought against massive real estate developers on irresponsible land use projects that don’t include input from the community. She also fought against the closure of the Long Island College Hospital, and pushed for legislation to ensure community input before hospitals are closed. She has worked with the community to clean up the Gowanus Canal, and to win design-build authorization to save time and money on the BQE repairs. She was an early pioneer pushing to bury the polluting Gowanus Expressway into an environmentally-just and sustainable tunnel.
Jo Anne has always stood up for her constituents and put principle over politics. She served as the female Democratic District Leader for the 52nd Assembly District from 2004 to 2014. She was in the forefront of movement to bring new leadership to the Kings County Democratic Party. Her hard work helped lead the way to long-overdue reforms.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?
To connect our community, we need to reflect our community. So if there’s a topic you’d like for us to cover in a future SPOKE SERIES event, let us know!