Today, New York City Council Deputy Leader Jimmy Van Bramer- a candidate for Queens Borough President- endorsed Aleda Gagarin- a candidate for City Council District 29. Both candidates are running people-powered campaigns that uplift Queens' working families.
"Aleda is the kind of bold progressive leader we need in the City Council. Her vision for small business recovery, climate justice, and affordable housing is how we build a Queens that truly works for all," said Van Bramer.
"Jimmy Van Bramer has spent his life working tirelessly to fight for working people, equality for all, and a more caring future. He was on the right side of last year's budget vote, and willing to vote against bringing a new jail to my neighborhood. I look forward to working with Jimmy to build a better future for all of our neighbors in Queens," said Gagarin.
Last Sunday, Van Bramer and Gagarin took a walking tour of small businesses in Forest Hills. The candidates heard from small business owners about their concerns, and discussed plans for commercial rent control, pandemic relief, and other protections.
Van Bramer is the only candidate for Queens Borough President to reject real estate money, uplift small businesses, and put communities at the center of the land use process. Van Bramer is a staunch advocate for the fully-affordable Phipps housing in his own Sunnyside neighborhood, and co-sponsors two long-standing small business protection bills- Small Business Jobs Survival Act and Commercial Rent Control in the New York City Council.
Background on Gagarin
NYC Council District 29 includes Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, and Richmond Hill. Aleda Gagarin is a 15- year Kew Gardens resident who has dedicated her career to solving problems, advocating for resources, making connections, and challenging power. A proud CUNY graduate, she earned a Master's in Urban Planning from Hunter College focused on community advocacy and a B.A. in International Service from American University in Washington, D.C. Aleda is a queer mom, youth coach, activist, and nonprofit leader who lives with her husband Mel, their three children. www.aledaforcouncil.com
Background on Van Bramer
Jimmy Van Bramer, born and raised in Astoria, Queens, is the Deputy Leader of the New York City Council. He was first elected to the New York City Council on November 3, 2009, and re-elected in both 2013 and 2017. Van Bramer is a founding member of the progressive caucus of the New York City Council.
He works tirelessly to fight for working people, equality for all, and the importance of improving quality of life in our community- values instilled by his parents. His father, William Van Bramer, was a lifelong member of Printers' and Pressman's Union Local 2, and his mother Elizabeth Van Bramer helped support the family - even through bouts of homelessness and food insecurity - by working as a meat wrapper and cashier at local supermarkets, and was a member of Local 1893 of the International Brotherhood of Painters.
His first foray into organizing was when he was a St. John's University student in 1993, leading a queer group of students who fought to be officially recognized by the largest catholic university in the country. Later, he organized for Ed Sedarbaum's 1998 State Senate race, gravitating towards the nascent movement to elect queer people in Queens and starting his personal decades long fight with the Queens County Democratic Party machine.
In 1998, he was an organizer with Citizen Action of New York to create what-is-now today's current New York City campaign finance system with matching funds. At the same time, he led civil disobedience actions with Irish LGBTQ folks trying to march in the city's St. Patrick's Day parades, which previously banned openly queer groups from marching.
In 2001, he stepped forward as the insurgent candidate against the Queens machine for City Council, coming in second. In the ensuing years, he worked as an organizer for the Queens Public Library and joined the board of the Queens Council on the Arts. In 2009, Van Bramer won his City Council election against Queens County machine pick Deirdre Feerick. He similarly bucked the machine to back Melissa Mark-Viverito for Speaker.
He was a leader in the opposition to $3 billion of tax subsidies for Amazon HQ2 and was the first Queens elected official to endorse Tiffany Cabán for Queens District Attorney.
He currently lives in Sunnyside Gardens with his husband Dan Hendrick. Jimmy married Dan on July 28, 2012, becoming the first openly-gay elected official to get married in the borough of Queens.