By Sarina Trangle
Everly Brown is no stranger to combating elected officials in the ballot box, but this primary he is enjoying the support of some former electeds himself.
Former Jamaica City Councilman Allan Jennings Jr. and ex-state Sen. Shirley Huntley are helping Brown in his upcoming Democratic primary against Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park) and Gian Jones, a real estate businessman from Bayswater.
Jennings has publicly endorsed Brown, a developer from Rosedale.
“We need a state senator who will return constituents’ phone calls and provide excellent constituent services,” Jennings said in a statement. “Most of all, we need a state senator who is independent and willing to work well with the power structure in Albany.”
Brown said he was pleased to receive advice and help from Huntley, who previously represented the 10th Senate District stretching from Arverne to Far Rockaway and north to South Jamaica, South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.
Still, neither of Brown’s backers come without controversy.
Huntley recently returned home after serving about 10 months in prison. Her sentence came after she pleaded guilty to mail fraud in an attempt to cover up a scheme that bilked taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars.
Brown said she had not yet had the chance to tell her side of the story and that she was a valued community leader.
And Jennings was censured by the Council for sexually harassing female aides.
Sanders approaches the Sept. 9 primary with endorsements from Mayor Bill de Blasio, the building service workers union 32BJ SEIU and the city public employee union DC 37, while Jones said he was endorsed by Michael Duncan, Sanders’ former chief of staff, and CB 14 member Felicia Johnson.
The state Board of Elections’ website did not show the latest 11 day pre-primary campaign finance filing for any candidate in the race. Jones and Sanders said they were behind and Brown blamed delays in processing his paperwork on the BOE.
Brown said he is fit for the Senate because he does not view public office as a job.
“I’m best qualified. I’m not looking for a job,” said Brown, who ran against Sanders in the 31st Council District in 2003 and who unsuccessfully sought office in the state Assembly and Senate and as borough president and district attorney. “It’s been too long that politicians think they should be in politics for a career.”
Brown, who emigrated from Jamaica in 1974, said he studied at St. John’s University, worked at banks and then started a development business called 1053 Corp.
He described his election runs as an extension of efforts to give back to the community by giving foreclosure advice and fighting a suspected “hot sheet” hotel plan, among other work.
If elected, Brown said he would import the comprehensive social services and education model pioneered by the Harlem Children’s Zone in southeast Queens.
“In a sense it’s not just educating kids because parents will have a sense of what’s available to them,” he said of the integrated program, which he said several levels of government have financially supported. “And if we tell Bill Gates we are doing this in the community, he’ll put up big funding.”
Jones said securing unspecified funding streams for senior initiatives was another priority of his.
He also pledged to add at least 3,000 jobs to the district within one term by creating a community college in a public housing complex in Rockaway, opening an amusement park similar to the shuttered Playland and identifying other job-growth strategies using biannual employment audits.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at email@example.com.