Omari Shakur wins Democratic endorsement for Legislature seat

Orange County’s Democratic Committee endorsed activist and one-time City of Newburgh mayoral candidate Omari Shakur for the District 4 Legislature seat being vacated by incumbent Curlie Dillard, and at least one of three challengers for the endorsement plans to run against Shakur in a primary.

Shakur won the endorsement on Tuesday with 389.5 weighted votes, besting three others seeking the committee’s endorsement: former Newburgh Councilwoman Gay Lee, community organizer Kevindaryan Lujan and the Rev. Nelson McAllister.

An advocate for improved policing whose son was killed during a shootout with Newburgh officers in 2006, Shakur has also been vocal about more affordable housing and job opportunities for city residents.

“We are excited to receive the opportunity and trust of the City of Newburgh Community,” Shakur said in press release from his campaign. “I will be a protector and advocate for the City.”

Dillard, a former Newburgh councilman who won the District 4 Legislature seat in 2013, was advised by the doctor treating him for heart problems to forgo a campaign for another term.

The day after the Democratic Committee’s nominating convention, Dillard said he would wait until after an expected party primary to endorse a successor.

Lujan will be one of the candidates trying to collect enough signatures for a spot in September’s primary.

He is a member of Community Voices Heard, a resident-led advocacy group, and the NAACP. He worked on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and county Legislator Chris Eachus when he sought to unseat state Sen. Bill Larkin Jr.

Lujan’s campaign says he supports more county funding for Newburgh, improved public transit, job creation and sustainable energy. He opposes the CPV power plant being constructed in Wawayanda.

“I’m running to give a strong voice to my district,” he said in a press release. “I grew up in Newburgh and it is time to shine a light on the wonderful diversity of the City and town which are so much more than negative headlines.”

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