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Local Civic Leader Announces Candidacy for 2021 City Council Race

Brent O’Leary at City Hall (Photo: O’Leary)

Aug. 3, 2018 By Christian Murray

Western Queens Civic Leader Brent O’Leary announced today that he will be running for City Council in 2021 to represent the 26th District, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC and parts of Astoria.

“I see life getting increasingly difficult for this district, due to rising rents, a crumbling MTA, and out of control development–without the infrastructure we need to support it,” O’Leary said in a statement released Friday. “I am ready to fight for more schools and the community resources we need to keep this a great neighborhood to live, work and raise families in.”

O’Leary is best known for his work with the Hunters Point Civic Association, a Long Island City-based group which he founded 10 years ago, and his advocacy work for schools, public safety and quality of life issues. In recent years, he has focused his organization’s resources on combating over-development in Long Island City, which has seen the largest construction boom in the country.

O’Leary with the Woodside-Sunnyside Runners at Civic Association’s Annual Food Drive

The Civic Association is also known for its annual food drive, which O’Leary launched four years ago. The group now collects, sorts and delivers 6,000 pounds of food and critical items in the three weeks before Thanksgiving. These items are then delivered to the food pantries at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside, St. Raphael’s in Long Island City, the Center of Hope in Queensbridge and the pantry at Ravenswood Houses.

He also works extensively with Hour Children which helps provide children of formerly incarcerated women with housing, healthcare and education.

O’Leary is a board member at Woodside On the Move, a member of the Sunnyside Kiwanis and the Long Island City Lions Club.

O’Leary with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a march against Trump’s border separation policy

Politically, O’Leary has served as a voting member of the Democratic National Committee and as a superdelegate for Barack Obama.

“My deep roots in this district date back to my grandparents,” O’Leary said, “who immigrated to America and settled in Sunnyside in the 1930’s.”

O’Leary joked that his grandparents chose Sunnyside because “they wanted to live in the countryside.”

O’Leary was born in Jackson Heights, graduated Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut and Boston University Law School. After working as an attorney in Japan for 10 years, he settled in Long Island City 11 years ago. O’Leary was an attorney for White & Case LLP and Bloomberg LP for 20 years. He recently left his career to dedicate himself full time to public service.

Jimmy Van Bramer, the current City Councilmember for the 26th district, is unable to run again due to term limitations, and has already opened an account to run for citywide office.

For additional information, visit www.olearyforcouncil.com or visit his Facebook page.

email the author: [email protected]

23 Comments

Bob Melson

Brent O’Leary will be great when he wins the City Council seat. He has worked hard for his LIC community and been an active member of the Democratic Party during his time abroad and in his past decade back in NY, where he was born. You won’t find anybody out there better than Brent O’Leary.




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Good luck brent

Brent would make a great councilman. He cares about this community and I will vote for him.




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MRLIC

All I needed to see is Brent O’Leary with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and he loses my VOTE. No Socialism platform for me.




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MRIRONY

Hopefully you’ve never walked on a public sidewalk or driven on a public road or your argument against “socialism” would make you a giant hypocrite!




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Frank

Only an idiot would think socialism is required for any public good or service. Capitalist societies have been quite good at pooling resources to fund things in the public interest. Where socialists like Ocasio-Cortez (a flavor of the month who will be forgotten when she collided with real power in DC) get into trouble is presuming the other people’s money exists to fund their social engineering and that people would prefer the government delivering most services.




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MRLIC

MRIRONY< we are a Capitalist Society not Socialist. Frank basically said the same thing in his comment. Frank is right when he said Other People's money. When that money runs out in the socialist Ponzi scheme, socialism ends. Roads and sidewalks exist in Capitalism also. Wake Up!!!




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MRIRONY

So you believe taxpayer wealth should be redistributed to pay for public services? Sounds like you’re a socialist.




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Erik Baard

Let’s not overheated with semantics. Avowedly socialist countries sell their products and natural resources onto the open global market. Avowedly capitalist nations invest in the common good, whether that be education, police, healthcare, or whatnot. Voters prioritize. Benjamin Franklin led so much of this with fire departments and the post office. No modern society is purely capitalist or socialist, and the democratic socialists we can observe are in Scandinavia. Do you really think IKEA is a gulag?

Ocasio-Cortez wants to broaden educational and healthcare access through larger taxes on the wealthiest, where money has concentrated in unprecedented proportions. There’s room for legitimate debate over that, but not panic and paranoia.

My greater worry is that a cult of personality is brewing around her, which is already toxic in the case of Trump. We don’t need that from the left any more than from the right.




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Rudy sanfilippo

Enough with the professional politicians. Give us ordinary people with common sense to vote for.




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Erik Baard

So he’s not qualified because he spent too much of his career earning qualifications? Besides, this would be his first elected office. The rest of his public service came at his own time and his own dime.




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MRLIC

Rudy that’s correct. That’s why I voted for a washed-up reality TV star for president instead of someone with any experience at all.

Besides lying about the 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, lying about paying Stormy Daniels $130k in hush money with campaign funds, etc he’s been great. That’s what Fox News told me at least.




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Anonymous

We can do better then him. O’Leary with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a march against Trump’s border separation policy




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Anonymous

The guy cheering for border separation can’t even string two sentences together using proper English.




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ComfySneakers

Something I find difficult to reconcile is how O’Leary was one of Crowley’s most ardent supporters before flipping to Ocasio. I’m not saying that there isn’t a benefit to this, Republicans often know when to fall in line and behave like good rank-and-file. However, it really raises the concern of being a band-wagoner.




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Anonymous

Are you kidding? It’s politics! They’ll do anything to get into office and stay there. What’s concerning is that this behavior has seeped into other aspects of government where politics should have no place.




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Alarmed

What’s alarming is that many (otherwise intelligent?) people use the word, “concerning” (which means, “in reference to”) when they really are attempting to express that they are, “alarmed.” I’m concerned for such people.




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Erik Baard

You’re ignoring the secondary meaning. The distinction is clearer when “to” is used. For example, “the matter concerning me” could mean “the matter related to me” or “the matter worrying me,” but “the matter that’s concerning to me” works strictly with the secondary meaning.

In my opinion, “alarming” is a higher up on the anxiety gradient.

More here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/concerning




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Anonymous

I’m concerned…..no alarmed, when someone interjects proper spelling, grammer, or word meaning into a comment section. It’s sophomoric.




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Erik Baard

The motivations needn’t be all cynical, and I’ve known Brent a bit for years and haven’t had that impression of him. Please forgive a bit of speculation, based on my observations and my own sense of what it might be like to be in Brent’s shoes:

1) Brent knew Crowley and had confidence in him. Ocasio-Cortez was a stranger, so it’s no slight against her that Brent would support the familiar candidate.
2) Crowley shared much of Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive agenda (simply in terms of what votes she would have cast; I can’t make an educated guess on what bills she would have entered), so it was a leap of faith to sacrifice institutional influence by supporting the novice over the highly ranked and experienced DC operator.
3) There’s a worthwhile debate to be had over whether it’s more important right now to energize the base and activate new voters (often younger people, especially women, of color) or to win back working class, middle-aged and older white men from the Trump movement. Crowley could speak authentically to the latter and Brent might have felt that was important at this time (though he certainly respects and engages a diverse group of neighbors).
4) Crowley sat atop the “Queens machine.” Most people entering public service recognized for years that while one might have be inclined toward personal purity, to be effective one might do well to work within the reality of an establishment that seemed deeply rooted.

Though I don’t vote in that Congressional district, the first three arguments had me favoring Crowley, even though I strongly agreed with Ocasio-Cortez’s stances on election financing and bicycle safety lanes.

Anyway, I hope those thoughts are useful.




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Bob Melson

I don’t think that is fair. Brent O’Leary was always supportive of Crowley and then after Ocasio-Cortez won the nomination, he was in a photo with her at a community event. Should he not be in pictures with the primary winner? Do you want him to vote Republican?




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