2010-07-23 / Top Stories

Titus Challenger Drops Out Of Race

By Nicholas Briano

The sole challenger to Assemblywoman Michele Titus’s re-election bid has announced this week that he will no longer be challenging her in the September 14 Democratic primary for the 31st Assembly District.

Okenfe A. Lebarty, a Far Rockaway resident, announced his decision on Tuesday, saying it was due to a lack of resources.

“After careful considerations, my campaign team and I have decided to suspend our campaign and not go forward with the race for NYS Assembly District 31,” he said in a statement. “Due to lack of resources, we cannot maintain a vigorous and robust campaign; hence our path to victory will not be attainable. Although this campaign is ending, our fight for a more sustainable District 31 still continues. My sincere gratitude to all of you who helped and supported this campaign. Without you this would not have been possible. Our work is not yet over. I hope all of you will continue to advocate a progressive agenda in your communities.”

The cornerstone of Lebarty’s campaign was to change the culture of Far Rockaway by bringing in a CUNY community college that would provide localized education and serve as a positive alternative to gangs, drugs and violence. Businesses would be added and existing ones could begin to flourish again around the vicinity of the school, near Mott Avenue, he envisioned.

Incumbent Michele Titus, a former Department of Education attorney, has been serving in the State Assembly since 2002. The district encompasses Far Rockaway, South Ozone Park, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Rosedale.

As of today, she is the only local politician up for re-election in November without opposition. This year’s elections are for State Assembly, State Senate and U.S. Congress.

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