By Naeisha Rose
Tax accountant Ivan Mossop, Jr., is running against Democratic nominee Adrienne Adams for the City Council seat that was left wide open after Ruben Wills was sentenced to prison on corruption charges in August.
The Republican candidate running for the District 28 seat lives in Rochdale Village and his main initiatives include community power through civic action, strengthening voter power districtwide and employing the youth of southeast Queens as soon as possible to keep them off the streets and open to better employment opportunities in the future.
District 28 represents Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, parts of Jamaica and Mossop’s home turf of Rochdale Village.
Mossop credits his mother, Marilyn Mossop, a civic leader who was the president of the Flushing Suburban Civic Association, a Community Board 8 member and area chairwoman,for his 50 years of civic engagement.
“She is my model in terms of civic action,” Mossop, Jr., said. “I want to empower our community for whenever there is a problem. By doing so they can become powerful and respected by the powers that be, and once you are organized you are no longer an individual complaining. You are now a group demanding and holding elected officials accountable.”
Mossop has provided pro-bono tax preparation assistance to members of his district through the National Association of Black Accountants, and he was the former assistant treasurer of COMET, a civic organization in the Maspeth and Elmhurst section of Queens.
He was an auxiliary police officer during 9/11 for the 107th Precinct in Flushing, and was tasked with taking care of police officers’ cars and property as the first responders participated in rescue efforts at Ground Zero.
He currently serves as the recording secretary of the Rochdale Village House Congress, a group of residents who try to improve quality of life for the neighborhood.
When it comes to his second proposal, he wants to get people excited and participating in what is going on locally in their community because he believes they are not being fully represented in their neighborhoods. He cites the low voter turnout across the city during the September primary. Only 14 percent of the city’s 3.07 million registered active Democrats showed up at the polls, according to Citizen Union, an independent political reform group.
“I have been meeting and greeting people all throughout Greater Jamaica and Rochdale Village where I live and there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and dysfunction against the powerful [Democrats],” Mossop said. “All I’m offering as a Republican is an alternative voice to speak for those who do not feel represented.”
Mossop said to look no further than the Democratic electorate, where he hopes to siphon off votes.
“Sixty percent of Democrats who are actively voting voted against Adrienne Adams,” Mossop said. “How can that be a good thing when 40 percent is declared a winner? There should have been a runoff.”
Mossop is referring to the Democratic primary in which Adams won approximately 40 percent of the vote, while Hettie Powell and Richard David managed to get around 20 percent each.
His plan to reach out to Democratsmight be dashed now that Powell, a public defender, is back in the running with the Working Families Party.
Mossop is participating in Get Out the Vote efforts.
He also wants to help youths in his district, who are primarily people of color, get jobs and stay out of the school-to-prison pipeline.
“I want to help them get their first check,” Mossop said. “I’m tired of seeing our kids get funneled into the prison system.”
Mossop goes to basketball courts to connect with youngsters and to encourage them to stay away from gangs and to help them find volunteer and find opportunities through job programs like the Summer Youth Employment Program. He hopes this and introducing trade apprenticeship classes and internships like plumbing, tax accounting, and electrical jobs in schools will help to better their future.
“Apprenticeships don’t have to cost a lot of money if you get people who are working in the field willing to allow a student to shadow them and learn what they do on a day-to-day basis,” Mossop said.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose