June 2, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A group of western Queens community leaders has come together to help Amit Bagga break away from a crowded field to win the 26th District council seat.
The group, dubbed 26 for 26, is co-chaired by Matthew Wallace, the chief of staff for the term-limited council member Jimmy Van Bramer, and Clara Oza, a public school parent coordinator from Sunnyside.
They hope to get Bagga elected in District 26, which encompasses Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria.
“I’ve seen firsthand just how much our kids and families have suffered through the pandemic, and we need a leader who [will] not just fight to bring us back, but deliver real results,” said Oza, a Community Board 2 member. “Amit is the only candidate with a proven track record of having done so.”
Wallace, who endorsed Bagga last month, says Bagga is someone who will not only be a part of the progressive wing of city council, but has the policy chops to lead it.
“No one else has proposed anything even close in terms of having the legislative prowess that Amit has shown. That really means something,” Wallace said.
The group also includes Deborah Tharrington, who is the director of constituent services for Van Bramer, plus Community Board 2 members Osman Chowdhury and Anatole Ashraf.
The other members include Dan Hochman, Laura Dadap, Zach Job, Dominic Stiller, Jean Cawley, Marco Barrios, Joe Oza, Jake Cohen, Judith Sloan, Brian Romero, Louis Wellington, Amanda and Max Lefer, Annie Seifullah, Sam Goldsmith, Hugh Baran, Ayaz Ahmed, Samina Wasti, Neha Gautam, Erin Koster, Rob Bass, Patti Pion, Natalie Fuertes and Adeline Medeiros.
Nick Berkowitz, a spokesperson for the Bagga campaign, says the group comes from a diverse array of occupations, ages and backgrounds, which is representative of the district’s makeup.
“These are just folks who understand what the stakes are of this election and are willing to do what it takes to get him elected,” Berkowitz said.
Chowdhury, a retired NYC taxi operator from Sunnyside, listed Bagga’s promise to cancel the city’s taxi medallion debt as part of the reason for his endorsement.
“ I support Amit not only because he would be the first South Asian New Yorker elected to the City Council, but because he knows the difficulties that all working, immigrant New Yorkers face first hand. He has the experience necessary to fix those difficulties,” said Chowdhury.
The group will be on hand this Saturday for a Working Families Party joint canvassing event this Saturday with the Bagga campaign, along with District 22 candidate Tiffany Caban and City Comptroller candidate Brad Lander. The event kicks off at 1 p.m. at Playground Thirty-Five in Dutch Kills.
Bagga has already racked up a number of endorsements from leading progressives, including State Senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar, former gubernatorial candidates Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout.
He is one of 15 Democratic candidates running for seat. The others are Julia Forman, Jesse Laymon, Ebony Young, Emily Sharpe, Hailie Kim, Badrun Khan, Denise Keehan-Smith, Julie Won, Lorenzo Brea, Glennis Gomez, Brent O’Leary, Jonathan Bailey, Steven Raga and Sultan Maruf.
A Vote for Amit is a 5th Term for JVB. Vote for Amit!
All this shows is that Amit does not have any real support in the community. All 26 of these people have agenda’s and its quid pro quo support. Amit’s not going to win this race and this kind of support is the reason.
JVB clearly helped Amit steal the WFP endorsement from Julie Won, who should have the endorsement, and now is having all is staff do his dirty work in this campaign… best choice for council is any candidate other than Amit.
“any candidate other than” is totally not the way
There are some real clunkers in this thing
Whatever van bramer and his staff say do the opposite
They are out for themselves and could not work in private sector
Reject all socialist candidates. We are a capitalist country. You should be able to profit based on your ability. The only people who are socialists are people who have failed.
Tom – Trump has failed extensively with 7 bankruptcies, fraudulent university( which cost him $28 million in restitution), fraudulent foundation that was forced dissolve a failed run for presidency and a failed social media forum does he count?
Tom: Stop drinking the kool aid already. It’s always the mediocre like you who spew the most propaganda. None of the people mentioned in this article are failures by any stretch of the land imagination.
There are many different forms of ‘socialism’ from totalitarian ‘Communist regimes’ To democratic socialist parties in Western Europe, who pursue a pragmatic form of redistribution – aiming for equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome.
Some forms of socialism, adopt a more pragmatic approach. Many industries are left in private hands – a recognition free-markets are more efficient in producing goods. However, the socialist society attempts to use progressive taxation and social spending to provide a minimum safety net. Important public services are run directly by the government.
Many ‘advanced capitalist societies’ have considerable government intervention. The government may provide unemployment benefits and public spending on infrastructure, healthcare and education.
Unlike the other left wing progressives Amit is not afraid to speak out against hatred. Vote Amit.
Nothing against Bagga and not helpful to him. Too many long time Van Bramer supporters or staff here. Some quotes sound as if written by someone else. Makes other candidates immediately more credible. If Bagga has not before held office, how can he claim credit for all the legislation in his flyer? Those currently in power should respect that this decision is not yours to control, but all voters.
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Van Bramer’s Chief of Staff endorses him. Enough said for Sunnyside and Woodside voters! We have been waiting many years to vote for a change in leadership style which ignores the wishes of residents in Sunnyside & Woodside for personal political gains. Now is the time to not vote for anyone similiar to Van Bramer’s style into this office. Leave Bagga’s bubble completely blank on the form for Councilman, as well as leaving Van Bramer’s bubble completely blank for the position he is seeking as Queens Borough President, so neither one gets any ranking and even a possibility of getting a portion of your vote. You don’t have to rank everyone. So, if there is a candidate you absolutely do not wish to have in office just bubble in two out of three and not put that person down as third choice, so there is no percentages included in the count. Sunnysiders has been waiting for years to vote in this Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 22nd ! Be sure to get out and vote in the June Primary for the change of leadership style Sunnyside and Woodside definitely needs, it is more important than the regular election for this area.
So you have been waiting for years to vote for someone who ignores their constituents? Jimmy has been an amazing council person particularly because he has listened to the people and been a stellar representative for our neighborhood clearly qualified for boroughwide and perhaps citywide office. Amit is far and away the most qualified to succeed him and carry on the banner of strong progressive leadership for our community. Not sure why you aren’t seeing this and want instead to vote for someone who will be unresponsive and incompetent. I guess every candidate deserves a vote, so go ahead and pick your favorite!
JVB used to listen to his constituents when he was a younger candidate. He no longer does, and will place third this election.
Please give examples of this. And spare the amateur political predictions.
DO NOT BUBBLE IN VAN BRAMER’S BUBBLE IN AT ALL. THIS WAY, HE DOES NOT GET ANY PORTION OF YOUR VOTE IN A RUN-OFF. JUST VOTE FOR 2 CANDIDATES OUT OF THE THREE. DO NOT RANK HIM AT ALL, NOT EVEN THIRD.
Agreed, and you can request an absentee ballot too. I don’t want to wait in line while voters ponder the ranked voting bubbles.
Amit is a good man. Vote for him instead of those cookie cutter progressive frauds.