By Andrea Karshan
In an era of political correctness, the upcoming general election assembly race between a new comer Republican running as a reformer against an entrenched 36-year incumbent Democrat, who has not faced a primary challenge in years is one for the books.
But that’s exactly what is happening this November in the general election whenRepublican and Conservative Party Candidate Ramona Johnson faces off against incumbent Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein for the 41st Assembly District Seat covering Flatlands and parts of Sheepshead Bay.
“With her office being located right across the street from one of the largest public housing complexes (NYCHA’s Nostrand/Sheepshead Houses) in Brooklyn, Helene ignored problems that existed right in front of her for the last 35 years,” said Johnson. “This included safety, crime, poor living conditions and a failure to provide funding for services. It wasn’t until I petitioned for emergency temporary lighting and repair to over 100 broken lights that she went to the Assembly and gave $1 million for the lighting. How convenient for her to do in an election year. Helene has never given any of her budget to assist those residents.”
Johnson has a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Brooklyn College and currently juggles work for a real estate firm with being a parent advocate for the Tenant Association of the Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses. In the past she has worked with the Women’s Prison Association, the Women’s Press Collective and Black Veterans for Social Justice – seemingly perfect credentials for a Working Families Party endorsement – only the WFP endorsed Weinstein.
“Helene is on the ballot for the Working Families Party and I think she is disenfranchised from working families. I don’t think she understands the challenges that working families face especially since she doesn’t have a children or a family of her own. She has no vested interest in families, yet she is on the ballot for that party,” said Johnson.
Johnson says she is running for office because she loves helping people.
“I thought one day and prayed to God, how can I help people on a large scale in a minimum amount of time because I realized life is short and the most effective route that was brought to me was becoming a politician. God showed me that by legislating and fighting, at the community level to improve life for all residents of my district I could achieve my goal. I am a very involved individual. Always have been and always will be,” said Johnson.
Johnson said she cares about the fine details of people’s lives like if they feel safe, and are happy. “I am analytical, involved with research in communities and social sciences and read current legislation and stay abreast of important legislation and its effect on the quality of life. At the end of the day all legislation must improve and not hamper the quality of community members lives,” she said.
Johnson has also impressed longtime Republican 41st District Assembly Leader Anthony Testaverde, who is helping mentor Johnson in the fine art of politics. He also agrees with her concerns about the community and Weinstein being complacent after more than 30 years in office.
“Safety and legislation are a big concern in this district. The incumbent hasn’t handled those issues well. Ramona would be a fresh voice in the community. She would take the bull by the horns. She has a great background in senior groups, youth organizations and finance. I am very pleased with her candidacy and I will back her 100 percent,” said Testaverde.
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