Aug. 3, 2018 By Christian Murray
Western Queens Civic Leader Brent O’Leary announced today that he will be running for City Council in 2021 to represent the 26th District, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC and parts of Astoria.
“I see life getting increasingly difficult for this district, due to rising rents, a crumbling MTA, and out of control development–without the infrastructure we need to support it,” O’Leary said in a statement released Friday. “I am ready to fight for more schools and the community resources we need to keep this a great neighborhood to live, work and raise families in.”
O’Leary is best known for his work with the Hunters Point Civic Association, a Long Island City-based group which he founded 10 years ago, and his advocacy work for schools, public safety and quality of life issues. In recent years, he has focused his organization’s resources on combating over-development in Long Island City, which has seen the largest construction boom in the country.
The Civic Association is also known for its annual food drive, which O’Leary launched four years ago. The group now collects, sorts and delivers 6,000 pounds of food and critical items in the three weeks before Thanksgiving. These items are then delivered to the food pantries at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside, St. Raphael’s in Long Island City, the Center of Hope in Queensbridge and the pantry at Ravenswood Houses.
He also works extensively with Hour Children which helps provide children of formerly incarcerated women with housing, healthcare and education.
O’Leary is a board member at Woodside On the Move, a member of the Sunnyside Kiwanis and the Long Island City Lions Club.
Politically, O’Leary has served as a voting member of the Democratic National Committee and as a superdelegate for Barack Obama.
“My deep roots in this district date back to my grandparents,” O’Leary said, “who immigrated to America and settled in Sunnyside in the 1930’s.”
O’Leary joked that his grandparents chose Sunnyside because “they wanted to live in the countryside.”
O’Leary was born in Jackson Heights, graduated Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut and Boston University Law School. After working as an attorney in Japan for 10 years, he settled in Long Island City 11 years ago. O’Leary was an attorney for White & Case LLP and Bloomberg LP for 20 years. He recently left his career to dedicate himself full time to public service.
Jimmy Van Bramer, the current City Councilmember for the 26th district, is unable to run again due to term limitations, and has already opened an account to run for citywide office.