Electeds rally behind Wills

Electeds rally behind Wills
City Council candidate Ruben Wills announces a number of endorsements outside his Richmond Hill campaign office. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
By Howard Koplowitz

A diverse coalition of supporters surrounded City Council candidate Ruben Wills at his campaign headquarters on Liberty Avenue Monday to endorse the man they said should replace late Councilman Tom White.

“We’re out here today to show we have support from the community,” Wills said outside his campaign office at 134-03 Liberty Ave.

Among the supporters who came out for Wills included two of his former bosses: state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) and Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans).

Wills used to be Huntley’s chief of staff and was an aide to Comrie.

“Ruben has been time-tested,” Comrie said in giving his endorsement, calling Wills “the strongest candidate for the 28th Council District.

“He has done the work for everything we’ve asked him to do,” he said. “He’s helped many people that have been in troubled situations.”

Huntley said Wills “is a people’s person” and “enjoys helping people.”

“I am sure he will bring a great force to the City Council,” she said.

Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, was a candidate for the Council seat, but said he dropped out of the race in favor of Wills.

Mahadeo said elected officials have rarely set up offices in Richmond Hill and said he was encouraged that Wills decided to have his campaign headquarters in the community.

“If this is a sign of things to come, we are happy to have him here,” Mahadeo said.

Other support for Wills included district leaders, clergy, labor officials and single mothers whom he helped through his nonprofit, New York 4 Life.

Democratic District Leader Jacqueline Boyce said Wills is “a sincere, honest person.

“I think he’s one of the best things to ever happen to southeast Queens,” she said.

Democratic District Leader John McCray appeared to take a shot at two other candidates — Richmond Hill attorney Albert Baldeo and Nicole Paultre-Bell, fiancee of slain bridegroom Sean Bell — while endorsing Wills.

“Ruben is the only candidate who has worked for this community in-between campaigns,” he said.

The Rev. Charles Norris of the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Jamaica said Wills would be a natural replacement for White, who died of lung cancer last month.

“If [Wills] continues in the vain of Thomas White Jr., he certainly will be doing a great work,” Norris said.

Rich Hogan, founder and executive director of Brothers Against Killing Each Other, said Wills frequently visits the Baisley Park Houses to speak with youth and seniors.

“With the passing of Tom White, people are running on emotions, but Ruben is running on experience,” Hogan said.

John Butler, chairman of the board of directors for the Merrill Park Civic Association, said Wills has the experience to lead the district.

“I know he will work and deliver for my community,” he said. “I can see Tom [White] looking down from heaven knowing his service will be fulfilled in the shoes of Ruben Wills.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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