City Council District 27
City Council District 27
Age: 51; Occupation: Member, New York City Council
Education: University of Bridgeport (B.A.)
Campaign Website: Not Available
Leroy Comrie Jr. was elected to serve Council District 27 in 2001 and currently serves as the Majority Whip for the council’s Democratic Caucus, head of the Queens’s delegation, and chairman of the Consumer Affairs committee. If elected to another term, one of Mr. Comrie’s top priorities would be to increase the number of after-school programs for children in his district. He noted that parents in his community have one of the longest commute times in the city and parents needs places for their children to be supervised while they are at work. He said currently there are no after-school programs in any of the city-owned buildings in the district, and that he is working with the city and the mayor to bring programs into those spaces. He also said he would be an advocate for funding nonprofits that provide senior services. Mr. Comrie also believes that financial empowerment is an important issue, particularly in parts of South Jamaica, which has been hit hard by the mortgage crisis – which he has worked to secure funding for programs that assist affected homeowners. Mr. Comrie is a supporter of mayoral control, but maintains that there are many improvements that need to be made with respect to parental involvement and transparency in the Department of Education’s contracting.
Mr. Comrie believes city council reform is an important issue. While he agrees with Citizens Union’s position that committees should be able to act more independently from the speaker, he does not believe they should be allowed to issue subpoenas, or to allow chairs to schedule meetings. He cautioned that if there was no direction to prioritize legislation out of committees by the leadership, many committees may take votes that would never make it to a full vote of the council. In explaining his vote to extend terms for elected officials, Mr. Comrie said that he voted his conscience and has consistently opposed term limits, stating that they prevent effective government. With regards to the discretionary funding issue, Mr. Comrie said he knows how crucial such funding is to his community and the nonprofits that provide services. He believes it is important for the public to understand that councilmembers do not write the checks, but rather the city agencies who vet the nonprofits. While he agrees that stealing public money is a violation of the public’s trust, he would also caution against removing a line of funding that is so essential to smaller community organizations, and in particular those in minority communities. He advocates strengthening the vetting process for nonprofit funding requests, and implementing more severe penalties for those that break the law.
While Mr. Comrie and Citizens Union disagree from time to time, the organization recognizes his deep commitment to improving his community and his success in securing services for his district. His openness to the organization’s positions and desire to build upon his long, active relationship with it, are what make him the preferred candidate in this race.
[Candidate did not return questionnaire and could not be scheduled for an interview.]