Feb. 21, 2021 By Christian Murray
The list of candidates vying to represent the 26th Council District is continuing to grow.
Steven Raga, the former chief of staff for Assembly Member Brian Barnwell, is expected to officially announce today that he is running for the seat that is currently occupied by Jimmy Van Bramer, who is term limited. He will be the 19th candidate in the race looking to represent Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria.
Raga, who is an active member of the Filipino community and is a resident of Little Manilla in Woodside, said he has been mulling a run for some time. However, he said that the anti-Asian crime wave and racist rhetoric has been the ultimate deciding factor as to why he decided to join the race now.
“We need to address these issues,” Raga said. “The city has played down this issue for far too long.”
Raga, who was Barnwell’s chief of staff for four years, has a long track record in government as well as in the non-profit sector. Raga currently works as the Northeast Regional Manager for Policy and Advocacy for the Susan G. Komen Foundation where he oversees healthcare legislation in 11 states.
He has been a member of Community Board 2 since 2016 and sits on the boards of Woodside on the Move, Queens Pride, and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). He is also the Founder of Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) which he started in Woodside in 2009.
Raga comes into the race late and has yet to raise funds. Several candidates have a significant head start, having more than $100,000 in campaign funds in hand.
UPDATE: Raga officially announced on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 5pm over Zoom https://linktr.ee/ragaforqueens