Jimmy Van Bramer Launches Another Campaign for Queens Borough President

Out gay City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is back on the campaign trail.
New York City Council/Gerardo Romo

One year after out gay City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer bowed out of the race for Queens borough president, he’s running for the seat yet again.

Van Bramer rolled out a fresh campaign video on January 19 and emailed his supporters announcing the move, which comes one month after former City Councilmember Donovan Richards took office following his victory in the special election race to succeed former Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who became Queens district attorney. While Richards will serve out the one year remaining in the term, Van Bramer will seek to knock off his Queens rival in the June primary competition. The winner of the upcoming Queens beep race will serve a full four-year term.

Van Bramer, who often spotlights his mother in his political videos and social media posts, cited family reasons when he exited the most recent race for borough president.

“Prioritizing my responsibilities as a son and brother is where my attention needs to be right now,” Van Bramer said when he left the race in January of last year. “While this is a difficult decision, this is the right one for me and my family at this time.”

Now the term-limited Queens lawmaker is hoping he can regain his footing after one of his rivals won the seat — at least for now.

“It’s been some time since you last heard from my campaign,” Van Bramer said in a campaign email. “Like so many of you, 2020 required me to prioritize my responsibilities as a son and brother to best care for my family, and I’m glad to report that the situation has stabilized and everyone is healthy.”

Prior to exiting the race last year, Van Bramer scored a series of notable endorsements from key figures like Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, former gubernatorial candidates Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon, who is an out lesbian, as well as out gay former State Senator Tom Duane of Manhattan. Out LGBTQ 2021 City Council hopeful Marti Gould Cummings and out trans activist Cecilia Gentili also threw their support behind his campaign last year. State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Rom Kim, both of Queens, endorsed Van Bramer on January 19, along with Nixon and her wife, Christine Marinoni.

“Jimmy is a champion for working families — not political bosses, rich donors or big corporations — and he isn’t afraid of taking on the status quo,” Nixon said in a written statement. “He’s been doing it his whole life, from the time he started his career organizing for ground-breaking campaign finance reform, to taking on the Queens machine to win his seat in the City Council. In office Jimmy works every day to defend immigrant communities, fight for safer streets and functioning public transit, and make sure our neighbors don’t go hungry as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages our city. Now more than ever, Queens needs a progressive fighter willing to stand up for the hard working people of Queens.”

Van Bramer, who ripped the NYPD and invoked the legacy of ACT UP when he voted against the city’s budget over the summer, has stood out as a progressive leader in the City Council, where he is term-limited. He outlined familiar themes in his latest campaign video as he brought attention to the affordability crisis and the problems facing Queens residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

“So many families are struggling to make the rent while the rich get richer,” Van Bramer said in his new video. “Small businesses get wiped out while big corporations get a bailout. And people are working themselves to the bone, risking their own lives to put food on the table. This is a system that works for the people who made it. For everyone else, it’s a disaster — or even worse, a death sentence.”

He added, “We’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fundamentally change Queens politics forever. That’s why I’m running for Queens borough president.”

Van Bramer also included his mother in his newest campaign video and underscored the unwavering support she has provided him as an out gay man.

“Her love and acceptance of her gay son allowed me to become an organizer, first for LGBTQ rights — then working to get big money out of politics,” Van Bramer said.

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