City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Maspeth, Sunnyside, Woodside) formed a committee last week to explore a potential run as Queens Borough President in 2021.
Van Bramer, in his third and final term as a City Councilmember, explained that he enjoys public service, especially in the borough of Queens.
“I relish the opportunity to fight for all of the people in this borough, in every neighborhood. That’s why I’ve opened the 2021 committee,” he said.
In addition to his work in the City Council, Van Bramer is no stranger to serving constituents in Queens. He oversaw expanded language classes and after-school programs while serving as the Chief External Affairs Officer at Queens Library from 1999 to 2009.
A lifelong Queens resident of Queens, Van Bramer graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School, and from St. Johns University in 1994. He also worked as a reporter for Lesbian and Gay New York (now Gay City News) a community newspaper, where he brought attention to the AIDS epidemic and bias/hate crimes.
Van Bramer is one of five openly LGBT members of the New York City Council, alongside Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres, Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca.
Van Bramer is also considered the “City Council’s Arts Champion,” according to a 2014 New York Times article. In his first term alone, he restored $575 million to New York City’s libraries and art programs. Prior to this, he served as President of the Queens Council of the Arts from 2004 to 2006.
“I want to continue to serve the borough I’ve always called home,” said Van Bramer.
The City Councilmember highlighted a few issues, from transportation to immigration rights, he would want to focus on if he does run for Queens Borough President.
He considered transportation a major issue and one that he tackled while in the City Council. The lack of sufficient trains and buses, including throughout southeastern and northeastern Queens, highlighted the significance of addressing it.
Van Bramer also talked about the importance of defending immigrants in one of the most diverse boroughs across the country.
“We can’t just proudly talk about our diversity, the number of languages spoken, and the number of countries folks that come from around the world to be here without being on the frontline of defending the rights of immigrants, including the undocumented,” he said.
Van Bramer praised the efforts of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and considers the role an honorable position.
“It would be an incredible opportunity to ensure Queens gets everything it deserve and that it’s all that it can be,” Van Bramer said.