When three-quarters of the City Council gets term-limited out of office in 2021, many political leaders will be looking for new opportunities in public service. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) will be among them and he has already set in motion his plan of action, announcing last week that he will run for Queens Borough President, as current Borough President Melinda Katz is also term-limited and considering a run for mayor.
“I’ve got as Queens a resume as you will find anywhere,” Van Bramer said. “I’ve never lived anywhere else and I want to continue to serve the borough I’ve always called home.”
He was born at old St. John’s Hospital on Queens Boulevard, raised in Astoria and attended PS 70 and William Cullen Bryant High School. After graduating from St. John’s University, Van Bramer became a community organizer and went to work as a reporter for Lesbian and Gay New York, which is now Gay City News, where he brought attention to the AIDS epidemic, bias and hate crimes.
Van Bramer went on to serve as Chief External Affairs Officer of Queens Library for a decade and also served as the president of Queens Council on the Arts. These experiences served him well at the City Council, where he was appointed chairman of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee in 2010, a position Van Bramer is still holding now in his third and final term representing Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Astoria.
“I’m just someone who has a passion for the diversity and people of every neighborhood in Queens,” Van Bramer said. “The feedback I have gotten since announcing has been enthusiastic and supportive, because we’ve done an awful lot of good in my district and people across the borough have noticed. They also saw our Queens Values march across the Queensboro Bridge to Trump Tower just weeks after the election.”
Thousands joined him at Queensboro Plaza to rally against President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration and civil liberties, and the march solidified his standing as one of the borough’s leaders of the resistance movement.
“I want to keep bringing progressive change to the borough,” Van Bramer said. “Together, we can ensure that every neighborhood enjoys the things that make our city so great -- world-class schools, libraries, parks and housing that the middle class and those struggling to make it can afford. A place where every person, regardless of where they came from, what they look like, how they worship and who they love is welcome and included.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr