Today, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a candidate for Queens Borough President, and Tiffany Caban, candidate for City Council 22, greeted seniors, children, and the public outside the Queens Public Library at Astoria. Van Bramer and Caban showed their appreciation for essential library workers and welcoming back expanded library services.
"I am so thrilled to be here and welcoming back library-goers who've missed having this space for all. I want to acknowledge frontline library workers who provide a vital service for seniors, parents and their children, and immigrants striving for language access everyday. I have always been committed to creating a Queens that works for all, and that includes advocating for library and community services," said Jimmy Van Bramer.
"This is an exciting day for people in Queens to be able to return to our public libraries," said Tiffany Cabán. "Library workers are essential workers, and I am so grateful for everything that they do for our communities. When we talk about the need to drastically increase funding to education, libraries are a central part of that vision. Libraries and public knowledge resources are critical access points to opportunity for our communities that lack adequate access to education or books or the Internet. Libraries are places where kids fall in love with reading. Libraries are meeting places for community groups. Libraries are where people take free English as a Second or Other Language classes. Libraries are where people turn for career help, or health advice; to learn more about writing, and to get information on college. We have to ensure libraries are open and available to fit the needs of the people who could benefit most – and that means ensuring they are capable of being full staffed and operating for extended hours."
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. An organizer with the Queens Library for 11 years, and endorsed by Queens Public Library Guild 1321 (part of DC37), he is also the current chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Relations.
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.