Dec. 5, 2019 By Kristen Torres
A formerly homeless Queens woman who helped create the first Girl Scout troop for homeless girls is running for City Council.
Giselle Burgess, a Woodside native, announced this week that she will be running for City Council in 2021 to represent the 26th District, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC and parts of Astoria.
“I believe that our community, our voices and our actions will make change,” Burgess wrote in a Facebook post announcing her run.
Burgess began to garner attention after joining forces with City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to create Girl Scout Troop 6000 in 2016. Her accomplishments gained national attention and she appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show and major networks.
Burgess was inspired to start the troop after living in a homeless shelter with her five children when the apartment she’d been renting in Flushing was sold to make way for condominiums.
Now a mother of six, Burgess still works as a program manager for the troop.
“I am a working mother of six and someone who has recently experience homelessness,” Burgess continued in the post. “My passion, dedication and vision towards this issue will reflect if I’m elected for office.”
Burgess took the leap and decided to run for City Council after completing a leadership program with Dare to Run – a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire more women to run for office.
Burgess said in her post that the organization “has absolutely helped to prepare for my run for council.” She continued, “I cannot wait to begin my campaign and run WITH my community.”
Burgess is the second high-profile candidate to announce a run for the council seat.
Brent O’Leary, who is best known for his work with the Hunters Point Civic Association in Long Island City, announced his bid in 2018.
“I welcome Mrs. Burgess’ candidacy and look forward to presenting our cases for how to make housing and the cost of living in District 26 truly affordable for all,” O’Leary said in a statement.
The two candidates will be vying to take the seat currently occupied by Van Bramer, who has held the office for three consecutive terms since 2009. Van Bramer, who holds Burgess in high regard, is term limited and is currently vying to be the next Queens Borough President.
“Giselle Burgess is a strong woman whose life story is deeply moving and inspiring,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I am proud of all she has accomplished and fortunate to call her a friend. I wish her nothing but the very best.”
Tune into @FallonTonight at 11:35 PM EST for a special holiday surprise for our Troop 6000 and its founding Troop Leader, Giselle Burgess. Thank you to @jimmyfallon, @jcpenney, @nbc, @andrewlipovsky, and the production team! #FallonTonight #GirlScoutsNYC https://t.co/UBS3ERky7W pic.twitter.com/uwRk3uAXzn
— Girl Scouts NYC (@girlscoutsnyc) December 22, 2017