Western Queens community organizer Brent O’Leary has joined the race to replace Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who decided last month to retire at the end of her term after 38 years in Albany.
Running on a “commonsense platform” of universal healthcare and education reform, clean and safe streets, and economic equity, O’Leary wants to ensure every family in District 37 has the tools and resources they need to empower themselves and their families. With overdevelopment prevalent in the district, O’Leary is advocating for better infrastructure, more school seats, tenants’ rights and green space.
“I started in grassroots politics because I believe that the government can be responsive to the people, and a tool to help,” O’Leary said. “Political service should be no different from community service. As your political representative, I will always put the community first, and I’ll fight for you like I have my entire career.”
O’Leary’s family settled in Sunnyside in the 1930s and he has a long history of community service. He has served as president of the Hunters Point Civic Association and had major roles in the LIC and Woodside/Sunnyside COVID-19 relief groups. He has also been board president of Woodside on the Move, as well as a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Sunnyside, Sunnyside Kiwanis and Long Island City Lions Club. He is also active in assisting food pantries across western Queens.
“I am an FDR Democrat. I believe in a strong social safety net and providing people with the tools of education and quality jobs so that they can provide for their families and follow their dreams,” O’Leary said. “I am running because in these difficult times we need leadership that is capable, committed and caring. With my skills as a top international lawyer based in business, finance and negotiations, I have the skills to bring the resources we need to empower and protect our families. My 15 years of community service have shown my commitment and caring, from establishing and providing for food pantries, to after-school programs, to working with formerly incarcerated women to provide them with new opportunities.”
The field for Nolan’s seat is up to five Democrats, with Sunnyside attorney Johanna Carmona, LIC businessman Vlad Pavyluk, Sunnyside lawyer Jim Magee and Maspeth community activist Juan Ardila, who was endorsed by the Working Families Party. Ardila was already endorsed by state Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“I am excited for the Working Families Party to join our coalition to bring progressive change to Albany for the communities of Long Island City, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Sunnyside,” Ardila said. “It is time for a change. I know how hard it is to get by in New York today. I am running for Assembly to be a champion for tenants, seniors, working families and immigrants. I can’t think of a better partner to have in this fight than the Working Families Party.”
Ardila joins the WFP’s “We Can’t Wait” priority slate of nine Assembly candidates from across the state running on progressive policies.
“Our candidates know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet. They know that working families need immediate action from the State Assembly,” WFP State Director Sockie Nnaemeka said. “We’re excited to partner with Juan Ardila and invest deeply in the campaign to win good-paying jobs, good schools, free child care, affordable housing and guaranteed healthcare for every New Yorker.”
The Democratic primary will be held on Tuesday, June 28.