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A look at the 41st Council district primary

Jun 01, 2023

Trying to beat an incumbent is no easy feat but Isis McIntosh Green says she's ready for the challenge.

She secured some crucial endorsements in the final weeks before early voting including the Working Families Party and the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

"It's people right here on the ground that are saying it's time for a change," Green said.

Green is a first-time candidate who previously worked for Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.

The newcomer is hoping to unseat Council member Darlene Mealy in the 41st Council District primary, which covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Oceanhill, East Flatbush and Crown Heights.

Green's platform argues the district is facing a series of crises related to housing, affordability, health, and education.

"Stop the crisis and vote Isis" is the challenger's slogan.

Green took us to a vacant lot in the district, she said, shows the failure of local officials to bring housing to the area.

"What were in front of is a lot that has been vacant and has been filled with detritus etcetera and has been overgrown for decades that was slated in the Bed-Stuy Housing Plan to finally be turned into senior housing, housing for the homeless, housing for low-income and expansion with a food pantry and the project has been stopped completely," Green said, standing on the corner of Saratoga and Fulton Street.

Green said that more investment is needed in youth programming, local parks, community centers and businesses.

However, running against an incumbent can be expensive.

Green loaned her campaign more than $26,000 to help in the effort.

"I was able, thankfully, with my husband and my mom, to be able to loan my campaign the resources needed to get through the petition period," Green said at a local park.

In total, Green has raised nearly $60,000 for her campaign.

Her opponent Mealy has raised a similar amount, over $61,000.

NY1 caught up with Mealy at Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, which includes a track, open green space and a playground.

Part of the funding for the park came from Mealy's first term in office, but she says the park is a testament to her overall success.

"We remodeled it about two to three years ago. Put in about $8 million to a make sure that our young people and adults have a quality of health," Mealy said.

Critics say Mealy is a questionable legislator with a low attendance record but she pushed back against the characterization.

"I’m doing these meetings but if the community don't see you, they don't reelect you," Mealy said, before proposing a possible solution. "I’m looking forward to maybe asking the speaker for more money so that I can make sure that I can duplicate myself, have five more staff so I can go to the meeting and come back cause no one can do it like you can though."

Mealy has the backing of the United Federation of Teachers and is known for winning elections. She won back her seat in 2021. Before that, Mealy was term-limited out of her seat after serving two terms in office.

The council woman says priorities for her include street parking, public safety and affordable housing.

She wants to take Mayor Eric Adams up on his offer to provide shelter to those in need, starting with a veteran in her district.

"The Mayor said he don't mind having someone live in Gracie Mansion. I said give me his name and I’m going to propose let this young man live in Gracie Mansion. We need stable, sustainable, affordable housing," Mealy said.

Other candidates in the race include housing advocate Reginald Bowman and author Joyce Shearin.

The primary is on June 17 and election day is June 27.