City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will run for Queens borough president in 2021, he announced on Twitter Wednesday.
Van Bramer, who has represented Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside in the City Council since 2010, said he will make an official announcement on May 5 at his home in Sunnyside.
Van Bramer told amNewYork that he seeks to be an “activist borough president” who could “use the bully pulpit to talk about inequality” and spark change.
“I know the neighborhoods. I know the diversity,” he said.
I’ve got exciting news to share & I want to share it with you first.— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) April 24, 2019
On May 5th, I plan to announce that I am officially running for #Queens Borough President! Please join me & my husband Dan for this history-making moment. You can donate here now! https://t.co/oJdZX2guBW Thanks!
The councilman also described himself as a “passionate” Queens resident who wants Borough Hall to be “less friendly to real estate developers.” He pledged to refuse donations from real estate interests in his run for borough president.
Although current Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s term is through 2021, she announced in December that she plans to run for Queens district attorney this year. DA Richard Brown is resigning on June 1 due to health reasons.
If Katz wins the district attorney election, she would have to vacate her borough president seat in 2020 and the city would hold a special election.
However, Van Bramer, who was re-elected to a four-year term in November 2017, expects to hold his City Council seat through 2021. He’s endorsed public defender Tiffany Cabán in the DA race and expects her to emerge from a field of candidates that includes Councilman Rory Lancman, ex-Queens ADA Mina Malik, former prosecutor Jose Nieves, attorney Betty Lugo and ex-judge Gregory Lasak.
Van Bramer was a fierce opponent of Amazon’s plans to put a second headquarters in Long Island City, taking issue primarily with Amazon’s “anti-union” position and the tax incentives offered to the company.
“If Amazon is anti-union, it is not welcome in New York City,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette in February. “With the arrival of ‘HQ2’ in Long Island City, we would see gentrification on steroids in Queens.”
Some residents and local business owners criticized Van Bramer and others for their stance, believing it deprived Queens of Amazon’s promised 25,000 jobs.
Van Bramer, who would be the first openly gay borough president, filed with the Campaign Finance Board for a 2021 race, but had not yet specified what office he was seeking. No other candidates have filed paperwork indicating a run for Queens borough president.
Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. has filed paperwork indicating he will run for Brooklyn Borough president in 2021, when Eric Adams’ term is over.