This year’s race for Brooklyn Borough President has been looking pretty quiet with state Sen. Eric Adams the only major candidate to announce thus far and several other prominent names declining to run. However, it now looks like Adams will have an opponent after all—attorney John Gangemi, a former Councilman-at-large for the borough.
Gangemi, a Democrat and Brooklyn native who grew up in Bensonhurst, has been a practicing attorney for 48 years, including a stint as a prosecutor. He believes he can add a different perspective to the borough presidency than the retiring Marty Markowitz.
“I think Marty did a heck of a job, but there’s more to Brooklyn,” Gangemi said. “Brooklyn needs a lot of work with the infrastructure, with the legislation, with projects, and that’s what I want to involve myself with, that type of activity. I have time, I do practice law, but I have time now to do my part for the community.”
When asked whether he would be able to match Markowitz’s relentless visibility, appearing at every event he possibly can make, Gangemi said that while he respects Markowitz, he would have a different style of leadership.
“There’s visibility and then there’s visibility,” he said. “I think Marty is great, but that was Marty’s thing. I have a different thing, I’m in the courts. I’m always trying to be creative in my presentation of the law, the arguing of the law, and I’m more of a law person, although I’m not adverse to cutting ribbons.”
Gangemi said he has looked at the credentials of his opponent Adams and finds him “formidable”, but that, “He doesn’t have the experience I have.”
He added that his stint as councilman-at-large in the 1970s was good preparation for the borough presidency because his constituency was the entire borough, rather than specific neighborhoods.
Gangemi, who had previously considered challenging Rep. Michael Grimm for his congressional seat, has already begun reaching out to organizations and various political leaders in the borough for campaign donations and endorsements. He said his friends and family have been very encouraging and will contribute money and manpower to his campaign, which he hopes to officially launch on Thursday at Borough Hall.
“Looking at the race, looking at the environment, looking at the people involved, I think I can add to Brooklyn, the community that I live in, I raised my children in, I was educated in, and I continue to live in.”