Jimmy Van Bramer announces bid for Queens borough president

jimmy van bramer
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. (Angélica Acevedo/QNS)

Long Island City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has thrown his hat in the ring for Queens borough president once again.

The longtime City Council member announced his bid for the office on Jan. 19, with a campaign video and a few endorsements.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine a city where working New Yorkers get ahead. Families across Queens are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table, now more than ever, we need leadership willing to challenge the status quo,” Van Bramer said. “I’ve spent my life taking on power, and I know we can transform our politics together. It’s time to finally put small businesses ahead of big corporations that put profits before people. Prioritize affordable housing over big real estate. Reimagine public safety and pour our resources into a new economy, rather than bailouts for billionaires. That’s why I’m running for Queens borough president, and with your help, we can make the world a more just and fair place for us all.”

Van Bramer, who is term-limited in his current position as councilman of District 26, ran for Queens borough president in last year’s special election, which was held after former Queens Borough President Melinda Katz assumed the role of district attorney. He ended his campaign before the primary, however, citing personal reasons.

Donovan Richards, former councilman for District 31, went on to win the primary and general election, and assumed the role of Queens borough president in December 2020.

Queens residents will head back to the polls to vote on their borough president again in the Democratic primary on June 22 and general election on Nov. 2. There are currently five candidates, including Van Bramer, running for the office this year: Richards, Diana Sanchez, Stan Morse and Danniel Maio.

Van Bramer, who was born and raised in Astoria, positions himself as the “only candidate for Queens borough president to reject real estate donations, oppose the city’s mega-jails plan to replace Rikers Island and lead the fight against Amazon’s plan for a taxpayer subsidized HQ2.”

He’s a vocal advocate of reducing the NYPD’s budget by at least $1 billion and reallocating those funds to incarceration alternatives, placing a moratorium on luxury development and creating more affordable housing, building a network of protected bike lane across Queens, creating more public hospitals and building a new, community-driven land use process.

State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assembly member Ron Kim have endorsed Van Bramer’s candidacy for Queens borough president.

“After years of disinvestment in our communities, Queens was rocked by this pandemic. Thousands lost their lives, and even more are grieving their loved ones while struggling to make ends meet. We need a leader who will put Queens first —standing up for small businesses, workers and tenants, not the status quo,” Ramos said. “We need a borough president who will use his power to curb luxury development and prioritize housing for all. Someone willing to fight for the future we deserve, rather than cozying up to power. Jimmy Van Bramer is that leader: He’s spent his career fighting for working families, immigrants and women. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Jimmy for Queens borough president.”

Ron Kim echoed Ramos’ comments, positioning Van Bramer as someone who’s spent his career “fighting against special interests.”

“Jimmy Van Bramer is the fighter Queens families need now, because he knows first hand what it means to overcome poverty and take on power,” Kim said. “We need someone who will seize the moment to truly reimagine a Queens that’s pro-small business, pro-housing and pro-people. Someone who knows that it’s time to finally make billionaires and millionaires pay their fair share. And someone who won’t sell out our communities to the highest bidder.”

Van Bramer was again endorsed by Cynthia Nixon, star of “Sex and the City” and former candidate for New York state governor, and her partner Christine Marinoni, a political activist, as well as Zephyr Teachout, a nationally recognized professor at Fordham University who previously ran for political office.

Van Bramer was first elected to New York City Council in 2009, and is a founding member of the Council’s progressive caucus.

He credits his upbringing and parents, both union workers, as the reason why he works tirelessly to fight for working people, equality for all and quality-of-life improvements in Queens. He began politically organizing while at St. John’s University in 1993, where he led a queer group of students who fought to be recognized by the Catholic university.

He worked for the Queens Public Library for 11 years, and continued organizing with LGBTQ groups and others seeking to take “big money out of politics.” He then ran for office against the Queens County Democratic Party once before winning the 2009 election for City Council District 26.