By Jeremy Walsh
City Councilman James Sanders (Dâˆ’Laurelton) will face some competition in September from a former ally as he seeks reâˆ’election this fall.
Michael Duncan, Sanders’ chief of staff, formally declared his candidacy for the seat Saturday.
Standing in front of the nonprofit Federation of African, Caribbean and American Organizations office in Laurelton, Duncan said he would fight for more funding for schools, but also emphasized his own philosophy of “each one support one,” a code of selfâˆ’reliance within the community.
“We will be so strong that when someone steps out of line in our community, we can push them back in place,” he said.
Sanders moved to Rosedale from Brooklyn 15 years ago. Though he has organized demonstrations and served in Sanders’ office, he regards himself as an outsider to the world of politics.
“I am not a politician, I am an activist,” he said, invoking a quote by Marcus Garvey, the legendary black leader who was the namesake for the neighborhood political party that supports him now. “Where politics affect our lives, we must get involved.”
Duncan had raised $19,270 by the most recent filing deadline, March 16, according to city Campaign Finance Board records. Sanders, now nearing the end of his second term, has not filed or done any fundâˆ’raising, the board’s records show, although he voted in favor of extending term limits last fall.
Duncan’s supporters emphasized his dedication to the neighborhood.
Springfield Gardens resident Edward Duzant said he met Duncan during protests against a prison being operated by a private contractor in the area.
“We should have someone in political office to keep us informed when these undesirable institutions … enter our neighborhoods,” he said.
Duzant also said Sanders met with community groups prior to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful campaign to add a third term to the city’s term limits and indicated he would support Duncan as his successor.
“The people themselves voted twice that there should be a limit to term limits,” he said. “Their wishes should not be thrown aside.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by eâˆ’mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 154.