Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8, has thrown her hat into the 31st District City Council race to replace James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), who was elected to the senate. A special election to fill his seat will be held in March.
“I take great pride in helping people,” Adam-Ovide said. “It is very rewarding to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. I am putting my knowledge and skills to work at CB 8, but I felt I could do so much more to help the community where I live. I have the right skill set to help the community.”
Adam-Ovide’s top priorities are education, after-school programs and youth employment. She said schools must focus on smaller class sizes and getting parents involved in their children’s educational journey rather than on teaching to standardized tests. There has to be a special emphasis on helping single parents, she said, and new programs to keep children active and engaged in the learning process.
“After-school programs are important to enrich learning,” Adam-Ovide said. “Some people will ask, ‘Where is the money going to come from?’ But we have to have our priorities in order. When kids have nothing to do, they get into trouble. So we have to decide, are we going to spend money on prisons or put it to work where it is needed?”
Other priorities for the candidate include improving the quality of life for constituents, promoting more gun buyback programs to reduce crime and supporting senior services and activities.
In order to increase economic development, Adam-Ovide will foster collaborations between commercial strips and the neighborhoods they border and provide information about city laws, programs, regulations and foreclosure prevention to independent and minority businesses.
Adam-Ovide — so far — faces opponents Jacques Leandre, a lawyer and founder of the Rosedale Jets Football Association; Earnest Flowers, who runs a communications and marketing firm; Mike Duncan, a community activist; Selvena Brooks, a public relations specialist, and Donovan Richards, Sanders’ chief of staff.
Although she is a newcomer to political office, Adam-Ovide does have experience in city government, where she has worked for over a decade
In 2001, she served as an aide to City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis). The following year, she continued the same duties, this time for then-Councilman David Weprin and was later promoted to his director of constituent services.
It was then that Adam-Ovide began to advocate on behalf of residents to solve their problems with city agencies and supervised and trained new aides and college interns. After gaining experience through her work in the City Council, she applied for the position of district manager of CB 8 and the board voted unanimously to hire her in May 2007.
Communication between elected officials and constituents is another priority for Adam-Ovide, who says that many residents don’t know about many of the resources they have available to them, something she noticed as CB 8’s district manager.
“A lot of people don’t realize what a resource their member of the City Council can be,” Adam-Ovide said. “There are more ways to can call attention to issues like needing stop signs and street lights, other than calling 311. There is so much more a City Councilmember can do for them.”
Adam-Ovide is a graduate of City College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. Adam-Ovide is a resident of Laurelton, where she lives with her husband, Robinson, and their three children. Their son Alex is currently serving in the Marine Corps. They have also been foster parents to many children who have needed a home.