May 6, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s Chief of Staff Matt Wallace has endorsed candidate Amit Bagga to take over his boss’ seat in the City Council.
Wallace told the Queens Post on Wednesday that he officially backs Bagga’s campaign. Van Bramer, however, has remained silent on his choice of replacement in the crowded race to represent the 26th Council District.
Wallace — who had previously considered a run for the same seat in the past — said Bagga stands out from the 14 other Democrats thanks to the combination of his demonstrated experience as a policy maker and his strong progressive agenda.
“I am thrilled to endorse Amit,” he said. “No one else has proposed anything even close in terms of having the legislative prowess that Amit has shown. That really means something.”
Wallace said Bagga’s numerous and far-reaching policy ideas is what drew him to support his campaign.
“The policy platforms that he’s led with, it’s inspirational,” he said. “I hope that voters of the 26th Council District see the legislation ideas that Amit has put forward.”
Wallace specifically praised Bagga’s recently-released proposal to ensure app-based delivery workers are paid fairly and have workplace protections.
The proposal called “Delivery Justice Now” would require companies like UberEats, Doordash/Caviar, Postmates and Grubhub/Seamless to obtain a license from the city’s Department of Consumer & Worker Protection (DCWP). To keep the license, the companies would be required to comply with fair and transparent business practices.
“To propose a licensing system to regulate tech companies who are using apps, profiting off the backs of low-wage workers … is a brilliant idea,” Wallace said.
In response, Bagga said he was honored to have Wallace’s endorsement.
“Naturally, I’m tremendously grateful,” he said. “Matt is among the most thoughtful and sober observers of politics that I have really ever come across in many years in public service.”
He also said Wallace understands the district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, parts of Astoria and Dutch Kills, like no one else.
“He knows the people of this district in a way that no one does and he knows what it means to work to be the force behind a transformational city council member,” Bagga said.
He added that Van Bramer has transformed both the council’s and district’s history, and “that’s in no small part due to Matt.”
Wallace, in turn, said Bagga would expand upon Van Bramer’s legacy of pushing the district — as well as the whole City Council — to be more progressive.
“I see Amit as a real progressive champion and someone who will not just be a rank-and-file council member, but be able to lead the progressive wing of the City Council and that’s what I want as my representative,” Wallace said.
Bagga is one of 15 Democratic candidates running for District 26. The others 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 Maruf.
The Democratic primary for the seat is on June 22.