Van Bramer readies for ‘13

State Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (c.) vouches for City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (l.) at his re-election campaign party. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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The 2013 elections are a little less than a year away, but City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) held a kick-off party for his re-election campaign last week that netted about 200 people.

“Enthusiasm is high and we’re grateful,” Van Bramer said. “We’re just very grateful.”

Union officials, activists and residents alike attended the event, at the house Van Bramer shares with his husband Dan Hendrick on 46th Street near 39th Avenue in Sunnyside. Van Bramer, then the chief external affairs officer of the Queens Library for 10 years, ran in 2009, fending off a crowded field of primary candidates despite not having the backing of the Queens Democratic Party.

He faced challenges from Republican Angelo Maragos and Deirdre Feerick, a Democrat who ran as an independent, in the general election before securing his place on the Council.

“Now I want to keep doing that work for another four years,” Van Bramer said. “It’s a great job.”

The district encompasses Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Astoria and Maspeth.

One of Van Bramer’s supporters is state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood), who initially threw her support behind him in his 2009 campaign.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am to have been smart enough to endorse Jimmy Van Bramer four years ago,” she said.

Van Bramer had run for the Jackson Heights-based Council seat in 2001 and lost, but he said that after the defeat Nolan brought him up to Albany to see the State of the State address, which made him reconsider trying again for a political career.

“I remembered when I came back home to Sunnyside, it sort of reawakened my interest,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman said he plans to run on his record. Van Bramer said in his three years so far on the Council he has served 8,000 constituents, helped bring five new in-progress schools to the area, restored $350 million in funding to parks and cultural institutions and put aside $10 million for public parks. He said he has also made an effort to be present at community events so he is visible and accountable to the community.

“I feel really good about it and I want to keep doing this work,” he said.

Astoria District Leader Costa Constantinides, who hopes to replace outgoing Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said he wants to emulate Van Bramer’s work ethic if he gets the office.

“He wakes up, he’s fighting for the people of his district,” Constantinides said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 1:01 am, December 6, 2012
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