Kings County Politics

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City Councilman Charles Barron
Sylvia Kinard provides worthy opposition for Yvette Clarke
Despite incumbent Congresswoman Yvette Clarke coming from a politically connected Caribbean-American family in the largely Caribbean-American 9th Congressional District, her opponent for the June 26 Democratic Primary, Sylvia Kinard, is running a spirited campaign.

Kinard, the ex-wife of former City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, is an accomplished woman in her own right as an attorney. She currently works at Medgar Evers College as the affirmative action and diversity officer.

Kinard also grew up in Flatbush and continues to live in Midwood – both in the heart of the district.
“There is absolutely no bad blood,” said Kinard, who once worked for Yvette Clarke’s mother, Una, when she was a City Councilwoman. “This is something I’m called to do. You can’t just sit back and complain. You have to be engaged and get involved. I want to help the president, move his economic agenda forward and I think we need aggressive and enlightened leadership to do that.”

While Kinard’s intentions appear honorable, almost all political pundits, including this one, feels she is facing an uphill battle. However, one source said Clarke does have some critics in the district, particularly amongst the Jewish community, who feel she is not staunch enough in her support of Israel.

One source said that City Councilman David Greenfield is among those who takes issue with Clarke’s stand on Israel. Greenfield could not be reached for comment at press time.

But Clarke spokesperson Scott Levinson called the rumor that the congresswoman is not pro-Israel enough nonsense.

“She (Clarke) has been to Israel several times and is a strong supporter of the state of Israel. To describe her as anything less than positive (towards Israel) is just not true,” said Levinson.
Jeffries works endorsements, as Barron works the streets, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries continues to pile up endorsements in his run to succeed retiring Congressman Ed Towns for the upcoming Democratic Primary in the 8th Congressional District.

In the last week, Jeffries was endorsed by the powerful 1199 health care union, along with several clergy leaders from within the district. Of these clergy endorsements, the most surprising came from Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, pastor of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Youngblood, much like Jeffries opponent, City Councilman Charles Barron, is known to have a lot of street credibility, and Youngblood and Barron have sometimes worked together on issues pertaining to the unempowered community of color.

“I think they (Jeffries and Barron) are both good men,” said Youngblood. “I’ve watched Hakeem from the beginning and it just seems like he fits into the culture of Washington.”

At the clergy endorsement press conference Jeffries also continued to showcase his political shrewdness and high intelligence regarding legislative and governance matters. For example, when asked if he supported Sen. Velmanette Montgomery’s recent proposed legislation to take back mayoral control of education, Jeffries recalled he voted against reauthorizing mayoral control in Albany, but stopped short of backing Montgomery’s bill.

Instead, Jeffries said his strong inclination is to allow a second mayor to control education and see how they do before deciding if the city’s public education system should be reverted back to a more independent entity.

Barron, meanwhile, continues to pound the pavement and despite the differences in campaign finances and mainstream support, is certainly not being outworked by Jeffries.

“I just left Coney Island where I was very well-received,” said Barron. “The only endorsement that matters is on June 26 when the people come out and vote.”

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