BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — For Moreen King, families come first.
King, the owner of two Brooklyn day care centers, is running for the City Council seat in District 41, which covers parts of Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Crown Heights. She hopes to translate her experience providing care for children in her community to work helping strengthen families here.
“I’ve been a public servant for so many years in so many types of service, and I’ve seen how families often need that scaffold, including early-childhood education, access and education about healthcare, and they need a place to live,” King said. “When those things are in place, not only do you have stronger families, but you also have stronger communities.”
A native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, King moved to Brooklyn in 1988 and has lived in East Flatbush for more than 20 years, where she raised her two children and became deeply involved in community work. She also runs the Traditional Day Care Center, with one location in Brownsville providing preschool and pre-K and another on the Bed-Stuy/Bushwick border offering preschool, pre-K and after-school programs for elementary school-aged children.
Her public service includes stints on Community Board 17, organizing events for the Vincentian diaspora community and helping the Bushwick Community Partnership, where she worked on issues relating to foster care, early childhood education, and programs coordinating with the Administration for Children’s Services, she said.
For King, a place in the City Council would give her a chance to help her community build strong foundations in education, healthcare, and housing, the three issues she says are at the core of her experience.
King said she’s supportive of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-K initiatives, which now includes preschool for 3 year olds as well as 4 year olds, but said she would like to see it go even farther and be extended to younger children.
“The expansion of pre-K was beautiful, but I think it needs to be universal for all ages,” she said. “The time from birth to 2 years old is so important, so I’d really like to see universal early childhood education start earlier.”
On the housing front, she said she wants to work with city agencies like NYC Housing Preservation and Development to bring more affordable housing to her district, and work with local community boards to keep landlords and developers accountable to the community.
“So often investors come into the community and they say they’re going to build one thing, like affordable housing, but then the project turns into luxury or even homeless shelters,” she said. “I want to hold people accountable."
King said she’s eyed a position on the City Council for years, but was biding her time until Darlene Mealy, who’s reaching her term limit, left the seat open.
So far, her operation is small. She’s collected nearly $7,000 in donations, mostly in small donations between $10 and $50, according to NYC Campaign Finance Board records, and she’s enlisted the help of Joan Morris, a fellow day-care director who said she was moved to help her friend’s council bid by her belief in what she described as King’s commitment to serving their community.
“As long as I’ve known her she’s just been dedicated to serving,” said Morris.
King faces a number of challengers for the seat, including Henry Butler, the current District Manager of Community Board 3 in Bed-Stuy.