Ozone Park woman enters race to replace Ulrich on City Council

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Shaeleigh Severino. (Courtesy of campaign)

Paralegal and community advocate Shaeleigh Severino officially launched her Democratic candidacy for New York City Council District 32 as incumbent Eric Ulrich completes his final term.

The district, which includes the neighborhoods of Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven, is one of three Republican districts out of 51 seats in the City Council.

If elected, Severino — who grew up in Woodhaven and now resides in Ozone Park — will become the district’s first female, Afro-Latina, and LGBTQIA+ individual to hold office and, on a larger scale, she would become the youngest individual in New York City Council history at age 21.

“District 32 has changed since 2009,” Severino said. “People are ready for a new Council member with a track record of overcoming adversity, especially in a time when New York City faces unprecedented challenges. Some see barriers where I see pathways to connection.”

A daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Severino’s experience as a first-generation American in a changing district inspired her passion and advocacy and law. She worked her way into a five-year baccalaureate/master’s dual degree program at St. John’s University. There, she will receive a bachelor of arts in government and politics, a bachelor of science in legal studies with a minor in sociology this spring, and a master’s degree in government and politics in 2022.

“I have a unique ability to relate to and understand people on so many levels. In just one month since my campaign announcement, I’ve gained immense support in my community from individuals on both sides of the aisle, small business owners, immigrants and essential workers. I understand the challenges our district, borough and city face,” Severino said. “I look forward to the opportunity to share my platform, listen to the needs of the community, and earn your vote.”

Severino has worked with law firms across the city as a paralegal, dealing extensively with litigation, senior and immigrant law. These experiences have shown her the power of legal action and further motivated her to run for office to make a meaningful systemic and legislative change in her community.