Ruben Wills wins 2nd term

By Rich Bockmann

City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) is the one southeast Queens Council member who can assuredly talk about his plans the day after Primary Day.

While other races in southeast Queens were either undecided or headed toward the November general election, Wills won his Democratic primary with 48.64 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press. He does not have opponents from any other party.

Public defender Hettie Powell, who raised more money than the incumbent, came in second place with 33.04 percent of the vote, according to the AP. Small business owner Eugene Evans garnered 10.51 percent and the Rev. David Kayode, an addiction counselor with the city Department of Homeless Services, pulled in 7.81 percent.

Wills, who first won the seat in a 2010 special election and then successfully defended it the following year, has had his character called into question as his name has been linked to several scandals. Earlier this year his former boss, ex-state Sen. Shirley Huntley, pleaded guilty to two separate public corruption charges and Wills was investigated regarding a non-profit he ran, though no charges were ever filed.

He said his re-election served as a rejection of negative campaigning and an affirmation of his work in the community.

“Our communities are tired of hearing this negative, negative, negative,” he said. “This is an affirmation of what we’ve done in the last 30 months.”

Wills said he plans to begin his next four-year term by revitalizing dormant civic groups and promoting businesses in vital corridors throughout the district.

“We have a lot of great civics. It’s just that a few have stopped,” he said. “We need to get some new blood injected.”

The councilman also said he will work to establish several business improvement districts in the community.

“With the commercial districts — Rockaway, Guy R. Brewer, Liberty, Lefferts [boulevards] — we want to create BIDs in those areas to help them deal with these issues that come up every single day,” he said.

A “restaurant row” extending south on Sutphin Boulevard from downtown Jamaica is another initiative Wills hopes will gain traction this term.

He said he will continue to support and build his feeder schools, themed academies within the district students stick with as they progress from elementary to middle school and onto high school.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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