35th District Candidate Profile: Ede Fox

Originally published at Fort Greene Focus on Sept. 3, 2013.

In the interest of giving locals a clearer view of the community members running for the 35th District City Council seat, The Nabe has profiled each of the five Democratic candidates. Without a Republican running for the spot, whomever wins the Democratic primary on Sept. 10 takes the abdicated seat, representing Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and parts of Crown Heights. Check back next week for the next candidate profile in our five-part series.

“I have the ability to make real change in this district and to better people’s lives,” Ede Fox told The Nabe, touting her qualifications.

“If you go all the way back, I am a third generation New Yorker. My grandparents worked very hard to buy a house in the Bronx,” Fox said, adding that “I want people in this community to have the same opportunity.”

Fox, 42, worked in the City Council from 2006 to 2012, first serving as the Legislative and Budget Director for Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and then as Chief of Staff for Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, before making her decision to run for the 35th District seat. She currently serves on Brooklyn Community Board 8 and is chair of its Environmental/Sanitation Committee.

Fox, who has focused her campaign on affordable housing and job creation, spoke proudly of a series of development projects she worked on under Mark-Viverito that helped create more than 1,000 affordable units. “I am talking about housing that is affordable to families earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year,” Fox said. She said she also helped create “hundreds of living-wage jobs through many of these projects and through supporting small business.”

By the end of August, Fox had raised more than $82,000 for her campaign, second only to Laurie Cumbo among the five candidates. On Aug. 30, Fox won the endorsement of The New York Times, which called her the “strongest” of the three women running for the seat and the one who “could best represent this district.”

The endorsement follows support from Citizens Union, a Manhattan-based political foundation, Council Member Mark-Viverito and others.

“When I was at college I ran for student-body president and won, at the University of Michigan,” she said. “I was the first black woman elected to the student body and we had a constituency of 35,000 students,” said Fox.

Fox said she moved into the 35th District ten years ago because she “had a friend who lived here and she talked about how great the neighborhood was.”

“At that time it was not such a popular community,” she said, “Now the business are popping up and it’s great, there are no more empty store fronts.”

She decided to run about a year ago, she said.

“I heard that [Letitia James] was considering running for public advocate so I decided to ready myself in the case that she decided to do that,” Fox said.

“One of the things I really want to do is find ways to connect people in this community to the opportunities and jobs that are coming up in the changing face of Brooklyn,” Fox said.

“We have the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, an enormous amount going on at DUMBO and a ton of development going on in this district,” she said. “It is happening, it is not going to stop and it will only get bigger. I want to make sure people in this community take advantage of those opportunities and have the ability to step in.”

As much as we all love social media, Fox noted that we’re all still human and the best way to campaign is meeting someone face to face.

“This will definitely be a grassroots campaign,” she said. “It is about [who has]the strongest organization and getting out and talking to the most people, at the end of the day.

Fox met at least 50 potential constituents at a community forum on June 28, where she and the four other candidates addressed everything from affordable housing to education.

Many who attended said they were still undecided but trying to keep an open mind. Nashaun Garrett, who lives in the Farragut Houses and is a member of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), said “Ede seems to have genuine answers and seems to know the community and the pulse of whats going on.”

He added, “I like Ede and the work she has done in the last few years.”

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