By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
As the race to succeed Councilwoman Letitia James entered its final three weeks before the Democratic Primary, candidate Laurie Cumbo picked up endorsements from a couple of major political figures in Central Brooklyn.
Two members of Brooklyn’s congressional delegation, US Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville-Crown Heights) and US Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens), both announced in recent days that they are backing Cumbo’s bid in Council District 35. The district covers Clinton Hill and Fort Greene and includes parts of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Bedford Stuyvesant.
James, who has represented the district since 2003, is not running for re-election and is making a run at becoming the city’s next public advocate.
Cumbo has a background in the arts, something which Clarke noted in her endorsement announcement. Over the years, Cumbo has worked at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, WNET Channel 13, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Grey Art Gallery. At the age of 22, while pursuing her graduate studies at New York University, she developed a business plan for MoCADA, Brooklyn’s first Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts. She later incorporated MoCADA as a 501c3 non-profit institution.
“Laurie Cumbo has shown time and again that she is a fierce advocate of equal opportunities for every member of her community,” Clarke said in her endorsement announcement on Sunday. “Her endless work with nonprofits, especially in the arts sector, as well as her efforts to expand local businesses, improve education, and enhance public safety prove that she is clearly the best candidate to represent the 35th District,” the congresswoman said.
A day earlier, Jeffries announced that he was supporting Cumbo. Describing her as “smart, hard-working, compassionate, community-oriented and dedicated to making a difference in our neighborhood,” Jeffries said Cumbo would make a great councilwoman. “She is a proven civic leader and social entrepreneur with a track record of getting things done,” he said.
At that same press conference, Cumbo also picked up an endorsement from Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill-Prospect Heights), who predicted that she will be “a dynamic force” in the city council. “She has proposed innovative ways to harness the power of cultural institutions to advance educational and economic opportunities for her constituents,” he said.
Cumbo said she was grateful for the endorsements and lavished praise on all three lawmakers, calling Clarke a “fearless representative who has worked tirelessly to transform Brooklyn” and describing Jeffries as a “strong community leader and has always been a champion of the middle class and working families.” Mosley, Cumbo said, “is a dedicated public servant who has fought for the fair treatment of the diverse families in his community.”
Cumbo has also been endorsed by: the New York League of Conservation Voters, Doctors Council SEIU, NYCLASS, Progressive Alliance for Political Action, the Transit Workers Union, the United Federation of Teachers, 1199 SEIU, the Working Families Party and Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn.
In addition to Cumbo, candidates in the Democratic primary include: former Democratic district leader Ola Alabi; Ede Fox, the former chief of staff for Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush), and Jelani Mashariki, the founder of Black Veterans for Social Justice.