June 16, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has endorsed Amit Bagga from a sea of candidates vying for his seat in the City Council.
Van Bramer announced his endorsement in the midst of early voting and less than a week away from Election Day.
“In a crowded field, which includes several terrific candidates, I was proud to rank Amit Singh Bagga #1 when I went to vote this past Saturday,” he said in a statement. “Amit is smart, thoughtful, progressive, and has experience in government that will make him effective on day one.”
Van Bramer chose Bagga — the former deputy director of the NYC Census 2020 — out of 15 Democratic candidates on the ballot for the District 26 seat representing Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Astoria.
The council member said he would be announcing the names of five other candidates who he believes would be qualified to take his position in the coming days, but wanted to make it clear that Bagga is his top choice.
Van Bramer, who is running for Queens borough president, was previously tight-lipped on who he would endorse as his replacement. However his longtime chief of staff Matt Wallace endorsed Bagga in May and the candidate was spotted at a backyard fundraising event for Van Bramer’s borough president campaign the same month.
Van Bramer said he identifies with Bagga—both being members of the LGBTQ community. The council member was the first openly gay person to be elected to the 26th Council District in 2009.
“I came out as a gay man in 1989, at a time when we had never elected an out queer person to the City Council,” Van Bramer said.
He said if Bagga is elected, the district would make history again.
“The truth is representation matters and I’ve always been driven by the need for progressive queer folks to run for office and win,” he said. “In the 26th district we have an opportunity to make history again, electing a progressive and experienced fighter who also would be the first queer south Asian ever elected in Queens.”
Each of us in this photo is working to make history. @Goldman4Queens is running to be the first out LGBTQ judge in Queens. I’d be the first out queer Borough President and @amitforcouncil would be the first queer South Asian person elected in the country. Happy Pride – and VOTE! pic.twitter.com/XrPbhShHe1
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) June 16, 2021
Van Bramer also said it was important that the City Council have queer representation. Four openly gay members — himself, Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca — are term-limited and will leave the council at the end of the year.
Bagga said he was proud to receive Van Bramer’s support and endorsed him for Queens Borough President.
He said Van Bramer paved the way for many queer people interested in public service.
“As the first openly queer person to represent our district, Jimmy blazed a courageous trail that has allowed many of us to take on the solemn task of public service while simply being who we are,” Bagga said in a statement. “As a queer South Asian person who’s had to fight for respect and relevance through rooms not designed for people like me, I know that that was not easy.”
He said that Van Bramer would bring his progressive vision and prowess to the borough presidency.
“Throughout his time in the Council, he’s been a staunch fighter for renters, workers, artists, and immigrants, and that’s who he’ll be fighting for when he gets to Borough Hall,” Bagga said. “I’m honored to receive his endorsement for District 26, and proud to endorse him for Borough President.”
Van Bramer is running against incumbent Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.
Bagga is one of 15 candidates vying for the District 26 seat. The other candidates 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 Al Maruf.
Early voting is currently underway and runs through this Sunday, June 20. Election Day is Tuesday, June 22. To find your poll site and see voting hours, click here.