Laurie Cumbo Officially Announces Run For Tish James' Seat

First-time candidate promises to run a "clean" campaign that will unite voters.

Citing weeks of introspection and prayer, longtime museum director Laurie Cumbo officially announced her candidacy for the 35th City Council District at an outdoor rally in Fort Greene on Thursday.

"I'm a visionary. I visualize things and they happen," Cumbo told a crowd of cheering supporters gathered at Fowler Square. "I have thought about this campaign and my victory, and so it will happen."

Cumbo, a 13-year veteran director and founder of the Museum of Contemporary African and Diasporan Art, promised to help usher in a new kind of politics—one free of ethnic and religious division.

"We are one community, we are one district," Cumbo said of the 35th, which includes Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and parts of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights. "We are going through so much change, so much development, that what I wanted to do was to bring us together."

To illustrate that spirit of inclusion, Cumbo had a Muslim cleric, Seventh-Day Adventist pastor and a Burmese Buddhist monk bless the gathering before her remarks.

A self-described fourth generation Brooklyn resident, Cumbo is running for a seat to be vacated by Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Brooklyn. She joins an aide to former Gov. David Paterson, Khari Edwards, in officially announcing a bid in the 35th District.

James, who was first elected on the Working Families party line in 2003, is in the beginning stages of a citywide campaign for Public Advocate in 2013.

In a speech that spanned a variety of themes, Cumbo touted what she called her record as a job creator and educator at MoCADA, which started in a small space on Stuyvesant Avenue in 1999 and grew into an institution raising $1 million annually based in Fort Greene.

Addressing the violence plaguing parts of the neighborhood, Cumbo promised renewed outreach to get more people, especially those living in public housing, involved in the political process.

"While we enjoy our cafes, our tree-lined streets, there are people who have lagged behind," she said.

Cumbo also pledged to move on from the controversy that accompanied the planning, construction and opening of Barclays Arena.

"We have to deal with it," she said.

Coecoenuts October 14, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Close your window !!
Coecoenuts October 14, 2012 at 05:08 AM
As a "veteran" on the use of public and private spaces, it is a waste of one's intellect to question a sound permit of Ms. Cumbo. In the same vein as the challenge of Pres. B. Obama's birth certificate....Stop wasting time and let's get to the issues.
Mann Publicis October 15, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Some people just don't get it Sandy so you might as well not give substance to their ignorance by responding. I can't visualize Mitt Romney being elected President but there seem to be a lot of similarly handicapped voters who might indeed put him in office. This sadly points to the nation's poor delivery on popular education. Scary!
Pamella Allen October 17, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Yes, Tish James has left big shoes to fill, she was a passionate advocate for the people of her district and Laurie Cumbo has just what it takes to fill them. The mark of a great public servant is not only the ability to communicate but the ability to listen to the needs of the people they are serving, now is the time for the community to come with constructive questions and concerns and Laurie is ready to listen. The point at the beginning of this campaign (and throughout) is to address the needs of the community and to have substantive, constructive discourse about solutions, it is an unnecessary distraction to parse verbiage and permits. We've got bigger fish to fry..education, jobs, housing to name a few.
KayToure October 19, 2012 at 09:19 PM
KayToure, Yes the afterschool programs that Laurie has sprouted and spear-headed, the objective for graduates to leave high school with a driver's licence and a passport, affordable housing for those "displaced" artists that need housing advocacy, strengthening our economy and stimulating employment in our city- these are the areas that Laurie is addressing in her campaign. The slogan, "We are all in this together," is not alway easy to accomplish but it is at the forefront of Laurie Cumbo's thinking. Laurie has charged each and every one of us to pick an area in our lives and the lives of others, that needs addressing and come to her with what WE want to do and she will assist with all of her might. Since WE elect our officials, we need to be responsible for the change we want to see or else the change will happen to US instead of US creating change for the good of all.


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