The Juniper Park Civic Association has been keeping a watchful eye on the progress of our new Councilman, Dennis Gallagher. We in our community have been fortunate to have great political leadership in government. Our local elected officials have traditionally advocated an agenda, which protected our needs as a middle class community. This was especially true at City Hall with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Councilman Tom Ognibene. It was an incredible challenge for a newly elected official to continue this tradition of advocacy and leadership. Councilman Gallagher has exceeded our expectations by having been outspoken against slavery reparations, and taking an aggressive stance during the current budget negotiations against tax increases.

Since the tragic attacks of September 11th the City of New York is facing a $5 Billion Dollar budget deficit. We need effective leadership at City Hall to insure that programs and capital projects previously designated for our community are not discontinued for lack of funding.

Councilman Gallagher is utilizing his 10 years of experience in city government to insure he secures the proper funding. While this has been true for his entire district we in the Middle Village/Maspeth area have been especially fortunate. Projects that were in jeopardy including the long overdue reconstruction of Juniper upper ball fields, and the creation of a modernized Brennan Field are moving forward. Funds for our local schools including state of the art computer centers and funding for area youth and senior centers have been restored.

Gallagher has proven himself to be an effective leader in this new City Council by keeping issues affecting the middle class in the forefront at the halls of city government, and battling to insure that the burden of balancing the budget will not be put on the backs of middle class communities.

Gallagher has also brought accountability and accessibility to government by having already hosted 5 town hall meetings, bringing government representatives to each community to help resolve issues of concern specific to each individual community. The Councilman brought the City Council Committee on Aging, on which he sits, to our community for a public hearing allowing our local seniors to speak out on their concerns of the proposed budget cuts.

As a community we were aware that following in the footsteps of our great Councilman, Tom Ognibene would be a difficult task, but it is clear that Dennis Gallagher is more than up to the task. He is establishing a reputation for himself as a dedicated public servant who is politically savvy, hardworking, and a true advocate for the people he represents in the New York City Council. Keep up the good work Councilman, we appreciate your efforts.