Feb. 28, 2022 By Christian Murray
Brent O’Leary, a community organizer and attorney, announced today that he is running to represent the 37th Assembly District.
O’Leary, a Long Island City resident who unsuccessfully ran for city council last year, is best known for his work with the Hunters Point Civic Association, a Long Island City-based group that he founded more than a decade ago, which focuses on public safety and quality of life issues.
“This is a calling,” O’Leary told the Queens Post after making the announcement. “I have been a community servant for the last 15 years.”
O’Leary has a long history of civic engagement in western Queens. He is the board president at Woodside On the Move, a member of the Sunnyside Kiwanis, and a member of the Long Island City Lions Club.
He has played a major role in the Long Island City and Woodside /Sunnyside COVID-19 relief groups. He is also active in assisting local food pantries.
“Political service should be no different than community service,” O’Leary said. “I started in grassroots politics because I believe that the government can be responsive to the people, and a tool to help.”
O’Leary, who describes himself as an FDR Democrat, is the fifth candidate to announce a run for the seat, which covers Sunnyside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, and the Hunters Point section of Long Island City.
The other candidates who have announced are Juan Ardila, Johanna Carmona, Jim Magee and Vlad Pavlyuk. They too are Democrats.
The district is currently represented by Cathy Nolan who is stepping down after 38 years at the end of the year.
O’Leary says he is running on a common-sense platform with a focus on universal healthcare; education reform; clean and safe streets; and economic equity.
He said that he is an advocate for tweaking the law surrounding bail reform to ensure that people with violent tendencies do not put the public at risk. However, he said the current policy that has seen the elimination of cash bail for most offenses –except violent felonies– is the right one.
O’Leary said that he will be fighting for a better future and will be advocating for workers, economic and gender equality, as well as diversity. “The American Dream is for everyone,” he said.
Time is running out for residents looking to run.
Candidates need to gather 500 valid signatures from registered Democrats who live in the district to get on the ballot. They have from March 1 to April 7 to get them.
The primary election is scheduled for June 28, 2022.