By Madina Toure
In an effort to build the Republican Party’s base in New York City, the Republican National Committee is opening a new office in Ridgewood this spring, describing it as a central location that will enable it to reach out to more minority groups.
The official launch for the Republican Leadership Initiative Office at 68-37 Fresh Pond Road will take place around Easter, which falls on March 26, according to Oliver Tan, director of coalitions for the New York State Republican Party.
The soft opening will take place at the beginning of March, Tan said.
Although the Republican National Committee has had a large number of field offices throughout the state, they were all built around specific campaigns and getting specific candidates elected, he said.
He said that the Ridgewood location is easy to reach for drivers as well as for pedestrians who are taking public transportation, as the location is right off the M train line.
“New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the country and within New York City, Queens is one of the most diverse boroughs,” Tan said. “That’s why we wanted to put an office right there in the heart of Queens where everybody would be able to reach it.”
The office will have one full-time RNC employee, southeast Queens resident Pierry Benjamin, and a number of other people who will work on a rotating schedule.
“He actually came in through our Republican Leadership Initiative program and he did such a great job that he was one of the people that we decided to hire for this,” Tan said.
Tan said the hours of operation will ramp up as Election Day approaches and that the number of people working at the office will depend on the types of initiatives they have going on and what is occurring throughout the day.
The RNC opened its Strategic Initiatives Office in New York City in 2013, which is now in its third year of operation, compelling the RNC to expand it, Tan said.
He said the RNC will train Republican volunteers, teaching them how to build their own volunteer bases and how to act as messengers on behalf of the party.
“We’re looking at a large Hispanic community in Queens, the diverse black community in Queens, the diverse Asian community in Queens,” he said. “These are all communities that we want to be working with and that we want to reach out to.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour