Female politicians look to make changes in Brooklyn Assembly

A century after women gained the right to vote, female legislators are continuing to increase their voices in New York City politics.

During the recent primary elections, three women defeated long-time male incumbents.

Emily Gallagher, community advocate and Greenpoint resident, upset assemblyman Joseph Lentol in District 50. He had represented North Brooklyn since 1973.

Gallagher now says she hopes to bring transparency to Albany.

"We want to have open conservations about how the government works and how it's broken and what needs to be fixed and the status quo has been when there's a major problem like that," Gallagher says. "No one will admit that."
In District 51, Marcel Mitaynes defeated Felix Ortiz, who has held his seat since 1995.

"This pandemic really made it clear, that the government in the middle of this health crisis was really putting profits over the lives of working class people and our platform laid out a visions for a better world that spoke to people," Mitaynes says.

Crown Heights native and nurse, Phara Souffrant Forrest, defeated Walter Mosley. She believes her experience as a nurse will translate well to the government.

"To be able to go up to Albany and be the candidate that is issue-based and say that 'Listen, we are going to solve these by following these exact steps,'" Souffrant Forest says. "That's just the skill set of a nurse and should be the skill set of a politician."

If the women win in the general election, they will be welcomed in Albany by Brooklyn's first female Democratic party leader assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte.

"It's really good to see that these three women worked hard, had a vision and their vision came to fruition," Bichotte says.

Heading into the primaries, Brooklyn assemblymen outnumbered women 12-8. If all three women win their elections, the balance of representation in the borough would shift.