Monday, March 9, 2009

Queens City Council Candidate: Michael Duncan

Running for: City Council, 31st Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Michael R. Duncan, the candidate, is not simply running for office – he is bringing along the people. He is working to better our lives; to address our issues; to help find solutions to our problems; to bring prestige and untainted values back to our communities. Michael is a long-time grassroots activist and now looks to spearhead the movement to improve our community and our livelihood with the youth and elders being the focal point, two groups of people that have often been neglected and unaccounted for.

Michael has been a part of the 31st Council District community for over fifteen years, committing himself tirelessly to the issues of better education, community affairs, immigration, and police-community relations. As a proven leader, Michael Duncan is unmatched in his ability to inspire people and ultimately stands alone as the most dedicated candidate in recent memory. It is clear that Duncan is for us.

After moving from Brooklyn into District 31 over 15 years ago, Michael devoted his days to re-establishing the Rosedale Soccer Club. Through his previous experience as a part of the soccer program in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, Michael sought a similar opportunity in Rosedale but had not considered the scenario that faced him: there had not been a viable soccer program in Rosedale’s history. It was at that point that Michael pondered to himself, “why is it that other communities can have a program but not ours?” He then asked, “Why do we always look outside for the answer, when the answer lies right here inside our communities?” In other words, if we want to solve our problems, we should be relying on ourselves and only ourselves. Many of the youth in the Rosedale area would travel to Long Island to participate in soccer instead of participating in a soccer program in our community. Rosedale was due for a breakthrough, one that finally occurred at the hands of Michael. After 15 years, the Rosedale Soccer program is thriving on every front, a one-of-a-kind program that extends far beyond soccer.

Beyond the community, Duncan has addressed easily one of the most pressing issues of our generation: the economic slump, we now find ourselves in. For those who have blindly laid their trust with the City and local governments, during better times, it was clear then and certainly now, that government cannot and will not solve our problems. Exhibiting uncanny foresight, he created, over a decade ago, the Federation of African, Caribbean, and American Organization, Inc. [Federation] in order to usher in a new approach focused on economic self-reliance. The philosophy behind the Federation is very simple; Each One Support One, in which community members guarantee the support of businesses within the community, and in return local businesses provide an equitable discount. Both the members and the local businesses must be members in the Federation's network. The savings the members received is split between the members and the Federation. As such, the Federation will then utilize its portion of the savings to create much-needed services in the community. As other communities witness the development of this program, they will follow suit.

Widely recognized for his tireless commitment to our youth and the community, Michael Duncan was asked to serve as the Chief of Staff to the 31st Council District. For almost two years, Michael oversaw the 31st Council District which encompasses Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, parts of Cambria Heights and South Ozone Park

In that time period, Michael managed the entire district and was a strong advocate for the community. His duties included compiling, balancing, and monitoring the budget, the top priority for any incoming councilman with the state of the economy as it is. His wealth of experience with budgetary decision-making will not only prove invaluable in office but allow him to hit the ground running. He has also dealt closely with local community leaders, attended countless civic meetings, and directed the distribution of funds to community organizations. But, above all, he remains a liaison to the people

With each passing day, confidence grows that Michael Duncan is uniquely fit for the difficult tasks that lie ahead and, therefore, unanimously call for him to be the next City Councilman of the 31st District.

Queens City Council Candidate: Brent O'Leary

Running for: City Council, 26th Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Brent O’Leary is a business attorney and grassroots politician. He believes that government can be responsive to the people and a tool to make their lives better.

Brent became involved at the grassroots level in politics registering people to vote and going door-to door for candidates. In 2002, while Brent was working in Tokyo, Brent was elected Chair of Democrats Abroad Japan which helps Americans overseas to vote and be involved in the political process. Under his Chairmanship membership more than tripled in 2 years.

In 2004, Brent was elected to the Democratic National Committee where he was proud to vote for Howard Dean as Chairman of the Democratic Party and became a strong advocate of the 50 State strategy. As a Superdelegate in 2008, Brent supported Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination and when Brent’s term on the Democratic National Committee ended in 2008, he was asked by the Obama Campaign to coordinate Irish Americans for Obama in NY, which he did until the election.

Brent is a top business and finance lawyer. As Brent speaks fluent Japanese, he worked for the New York based law firm, White & Case, in their Tokyo Office. Here Brent worked on many complex business deals and helped countless companies form, obtain their licenses, structured their companies, their financing and their business deals. In 2002, he was named one of the top in-house lawyers in Japan by Asia Legal Business for corporate and e-commerce transactions and, in 2006, Brent became Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Japan Corporate Counsel Committee.

While in Japan, Brent organized charity events for Make-A-Wish and the Christina Noble Foundation which establishes schools for homeless children. Brent also helped with translations for the Civil Liberties Union in Japan in its efforts against human trafficking.

Brent left White & Case for the position of Senior Legal Compliance Counsel for Bloomberg LP and moved back to New York. In New York, Brent finished his DNC term and then assisted with the Obama campaign.

Brent was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, attended St. Mary's Elementary and Roslyn High School in Roslyn, Long Island and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He earned his law degree from Boston University Law School. While studying at Boston University Law School, Brent was chosen as one of 5 students to go to Oxford University in England to study International Law.

Brent’s grandparents immigrated to America from Ireland and Brent understands the sacrifices made so that he would have the opportunity at a better life. Brent wants to make sure that that opportunity is kept open for all and wants to help the hard working people of his district weather this economic tough time.

Candidate’s Statement:

Honest & Effective Government

It is time to make government a real tool to make people’s lives better. The first job will be to get us back on the road to economic recovery and make sure the social safety net protects the vulnerable members of our community. We need to create quality jobs, keep the cost of living low and maintain our social and educational services. It will take innovative thinking to find new sources of revenue and make the government efficient. I will fight to protect small businesses, who are the life blood of our community, and make it easier for them to set up and operate. I will fight to provide quality education so that all our children have the opportunity to have fulfilling lives and achieve their dreams.

I will also make governmental reform a centerpiece of my initiatives so that government is responsive to the needs of the community. I will fight to make government both transparent and accountable. The workings of government should be open for all, both to see and to participate in, from the initial discussion to the decision making and implementation stages.

This will be a community effort and I need your help to make it a reality so please join me to make our neighborhood and our City, the community we always wished for.

Brent O’Leary