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
If you don’t have order and discipline in your own life , how can you provide that for a community.
If all of her baby daddies vote for her she will win in a landslide!!
bxgirl I’ll triple match your donation to any republican that runs against her. Anyone have change for a $5?
Sure are a lot of harsh words for her having 6 kids, and not one damn mention of the absent father…
What?? Are you talking about. you sound like a hipster who moved into this neighborhood in the mid 2000s or whenever you moved. I am not complaining about the racial mix up in this neighborhood I love my community. I was born and raised and still live in sunnyside I’ll take you down memory lane for a bit, C-Town before it became a Rite Aid. Grandpa’s Deli that used to be next to Met Supermarket in the 90’s or how about the internet cafe that used to next to Choi Laundry Mat on 43 Ave and 44th st. So don’t come at me complaining about the racial diversity in this beautiful neighborhood. This community was always racially diverse even before gerrymandering so get your facts straight. This neighborhood went into the sh*t the minute LIC started exploding in the late 2000s. Why don’t you title your name on it and don’t put Anonymous on it.
Just based on the usual mean-spirited comments here, I’m going to donate to her. Sunnyside Post comments is mostly a nest of pathetic nasty right-wingers.
Ed, the racial makeup of this district is due to the blatant gerrymandering that created it.
There are already people of color running. She is a jimmy Vanbramer pick to keep power.
She needs to regulate bike lanes: no motor vehicles in bike lanes, including battery-operated bikes. Speed limit 10 mph. Speed bumps. Must have a driver’s license, protection gear and insurance.
Mother of six? Birth control anyone? Bet that each of the six child births was covered with public benefits rather than private health insurance. How much money has she received in public benefits for each child? She might just get elected and I may consider voting for her she seems to be very wise. When I married we chose to have not more than two children so we could provide a good private school education, pay for a college, save for retirement, purchase a home, pay for health insurance out of pocket, contribute to our IRA, take a vacation, we work 5 to 6 six days a week 50 to 60 hours per week and we are being squeezed. Who’s looking out for us? We are lucky and fortunate. What do we have in common with this lady? Well that anyone can end up homeless. That the government can take everything you worked for in the event you are stricken with an illness, job loss or both, make you sell your house, spend your retirement to pay off the doctors and hospitals. I bet someone like her and her kids have government sponsored healthcare and housing. It can happen to any of us, one day what you have gained through hard work can be taken away. You hope she can break the vicious cycle of pregnancy, poverty and homelessness and that one of her kids won’t end up like her with 6 kids, homeless and having us pay their way. I applaud her for trying to get a cushy job running for office. For sh*t sure she will do a better job than Jimmy Van Bramer as our representative. Hard work is still rewarded, go to school – improve all public schools, institute financial and family planning into the NYC Public School curriculum so her sorry story won’t be repeated again and again. Affordable housing is a must for the working poor. Her claim to fame is starting a Girl Scout Troop, a good deed and has more to show than Jimmy Van Bramer in a dozen years of public service.
You obviously cant read- the first sentence states right away
FORMERLY homeless and the state of her homelessness was a result of her rental apt being sold.
Wow how are there so many neo con half wits right here in Sunnyside? City councilors make a hearty six figure salary with raises every other year at least. The 120k plus benefits will lift her family out of poverty. What experience do most politicians have that provide real world value to constituents?
Just like Ocasio-cortez that could not find district 14 (2) years ago that she now represents. Burgess had no idea where district 26 was a year ago. Obvious B.Sanders social ideology is sneaking into neighborhoods of color where they will try and start their movement.
“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” —Perth, Scotland
Ok, so we are heading in the right direction here. Meaning, we are finally getting a person of color, which is what the vast majority of consituentis in this district are. But I cannot and will not vote for this individual like come on she was homeless and had MORE CHILDREN she couldn’t feed. Sounds real responsible. Don’t get me wrong I love a good comeback story, but like the previous comments what is her background, does she even have an Associates degree. This is stuff Republican love to bash at people who reep the benifits of welfare and public housing. I’m sorry but this lady will not win. Hopefully more candiates of color and or women will step up to the plate and run for this district.
Side Note. December 19 Bar 43 a rally will be held outside, please come in bike lane costumes to tarnish the horrible little ceaser JVB and poke fun at his horrible public service career. Hopefully he could join the drag queens and read to the children at the library once he loses the queens president race.
She was renting an apartment and became homeless because it was sold to be made a condo. Doesn’t that scenario sound familiar? Plus, I’d imagine it isn’t easy to find a place for five kids, unless you have a lot of money. The point is, we need housing for everyone not just the upper class. And, we need it right here in NYC so don’t tell us to move out into a cornfield somewhere and pitch a tent.
Joe – Since you did bring it up anyway – why didn’t you list affordable housing?
So, this woman is running on a platform of organizing a Girl Scout troop, being homeless and having six children she obviously can’t afford. Where did she attend school? What credentials, degrees and ideas does she have? What does she do for a living? What does her husband do? Homeless? It says she hails from here in Woodside, nobody would put her and her 5 (at the time) children up, obviously she was dumped on the tax payers lap (sounds like a real prize). She liked it so much she added another mouth to feed to the mix. This woman sounds irresponsible with the one notable achievement of organizing a scout troop to her credits. I am a life long Democrat who believes in unions, affordable single payer healthcare, access to higher education, wage equality, a living wage, planned parenthood and many justice and legal reforms, (notice I didn’t list affordable housing) I don’t know what the Democratic Party is doing running candidates like this woman who is basically the definition of the welfare receiving “let the government pay for it” stereotypes Republicans constantly bring up in their attacks ( and rightfully so) on entitlement programs. Are Democrats looking to swing the districts Republican? With candidates like Ocasio Cortez. Velasquez, Ramos and DeBlasio that’s what is going to ultimately happen. So far I can not justify this candidate.
Just because a game show host with absolutely no experience was elected, that’s a bad thing?!
Five kids and she can’t keep a roof over her head so she has a sixth kid. Doesn’t seem very pragmatic. She’s not getting my vote.