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Jimmy Van Bramer Contracts COVID-19, Blames Cuomo for Not Scrapping Petitioning Requirement

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer petitioning in Sunnyside on Saturday (Photo: Queens Post)

March 17, 2021 By Christian Murray

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is running for Queens Borough President, has tested positive for COVID-19 and believes that he contracted the virus while petitioning over the weekend.

Van Bramer said that he was tested for the virus Monday and got word Tuesday that he was infected. He said that he was also tested last Thursday, when the results came back negative.

“I didn’t do any public facing events on Friday but was doing a lot of petitioning on Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I must have come into contact with hundreds of people.”

Van Bramer said he was gathering signatures in Sunnyside, Jackson Heights and Forest Hills over the weekend—as he needs 1,200 signatures to get on the ballot.

“We now have three times that—but we’re shooting for 5,000 because I am not the machine candidate,” he said.  Candidates, he said, who have not been endorsed by the Queens County Democratic party–dubbed the machine–tend to have the validity of their signatures challenged to get them off the ballot.

Donovan Richards, the current borough president, seeks reelection and won the party’s endorsement.

Van Bramer, who said that he has been tested 19 times for COVID in the past year, said he was wearing two masks over the weekend. He said that he has been very cautious about contracting COVID-19, given his job and how he looks after his 81-year-old mother three days a week.

“I have taken a lot of precautions over the last year and have tested a lot,” Van Bramer said. He said that he was disappointed to get the diagnosis now, since public-facing government workers have recently just become eligible to get the vaccine.

Van Bramer said he will be doing his council work remotely and will continue with his campaign for borough president. He said that he is asymptomatic and will be in discussion with his doctor today as to quarantining.

The councilmember said that he is likely the victim of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision that candidates gather signatures to get on the ballot.

He and a number of candidates filed an unsuccessful lawsuit last month calling for the signature requirement to be dropped due to the risk to public safety stemming from COVID-19.

Van Bramer said that the number of signatures required was dropped by 70 percent due to COVID but argued that the Cuomo administration insisted that petitioning was still required.

“The governor–who I think has blood on his hands on so many levels in respect to COVID–made a political decision [to keep petitioning] and has played with people’s lives,” Van Bramer said.

He said that by requiring the signatures, it provided the machine with an opportunity to get candidates struck off the ballot.

Van Bramer said thousands of people have been petitioning over the last two weeks and it involves close contact. It requires stopping people, chatting with them and then handing them the clip board and pen to sign.

“Across the city, there must have been hundreds of thousands of interactions,” he said.

Van Bramer, however, remains hopeful that he will remain asymptomatic.

“I was in perfect health when I had my last physical,” he said. However, “there have been much younger people in good health that have got very, very sick so I’m taking it day by day.”

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4 Comments

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Chas

Pink Statue wasn’t even from a local artist. Hungry/Brooklyn based I believe.
Go away Jimmy

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MRLIC

Van Bramer should not be elected to any office. He did nothingnfor his district except gove them a $500,000 pink statue on Jackson avenue that is supposed to be Art

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Gardens Watcher

Sorry to hear that. Just goes to show how insidious this virus is, and how much more transmissible the new variants are, especially the NYC variant.

Also, I see from the photograph that you weren’t wearing ANY eye protection, and were NOT socially distanced from your own canvassers!

In fact, I passed numerous people out walking, No masks, No social distancing. You could have caught it anywhere. I also walked passed a few of your canvassers on QBlvd, not double-masked, not socially distanced from the passing public. Not taking proper protocol protections is a public health problem for everyone.

As for petitioning, anybody running for public office needs to show enough support to be on the ballot. Otherwise, I could run for office just by filing for it. Blame the virus, but to try and turn this into Cuomo’s fault is ridiculous.

Caring for an elderly parent takes a lot of effort. You are lucky to have a lot of siblings to help, and lucky to still have your Mom. Take care of her and your family.

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Anonymous

Two points. First, I do hope he gets better. Second, JVB plays cards like nobody I’ve ever seen before. For someone who has done absolutely nothing but divide people while conning voters that he brings people together, he is the biggest victim and uses opportunistic moments in time to pretend he’s a strong candidate who gets things done. Voters need to wake up and see his truth. He is a career politician here to play you when opportunities arise.

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