Meet the City Council’s New Members: Alan Maisel

Meet the City Council’s New Members: Alan Maisel

Meet the City Council’s New Members: Alan Maisel
January 28, 2014

Alan Maisel is not leaving the Assembly to get away from Albany—the lifelong Brooklyn resident just wants to be closer to his constituents.

“I’m probably one of the few people who will admit that I do like Albany, and I’m going to really miss it,” Maisel said. “I’m very much connected with what goes on in the community. After Hurricane Sandy, going up to Albany for 60, 70 days, personally I felt out of the loop. I just felt the need to be back on a more sustained basis.”

The outgoing assemblyman will bring with him the lessons of a long career in government, which could serve him well in a young and relatively inexperienced New York City Council. Prior to being elected to four terms in the Assembly, he served as chief of staff to then Assemblyman Frank Seddio—whom Maisel succeeded in early 2006—and then Rep. Charles Schumer. Maisel also had a career as a teacher (fellow incoming Council member Laurie Cumbo was one of his students at I.S. 211 in Canarsie) and school administrator, which informs his views on education policy.

“As far as education is concerned, I’m hoping to play a role in that, to formulate some new approaches to how we deal with our local schools,” Maisel said. “I’m not a fan of the current mayor’s top-down approach.”

As a former science teacher, Maisel has been drawn to environmental issues as well. He spearheaded a state law banning most shark fins, which are used for soup. The bill’s passage was a huge victory for Maisel—even though, as he said, “When I talk about it at the local civic meetings, people’s eyes glazed over.”

Looking back on his time in the Assembly, Maisel has only praise for his colleagues, despite the seemingly unending string of arrests and scandals in Albany.

“I have a new appreciation for the level of work that’s being done in the Legislature on the part of a lot of people who work very, very hard, trying to do the right thing,” he said. “Unfortunately, the message of their doing a lot of good work is overshadowed by the few people who don’t.”

District: 46
Neighborhoods represented: Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Georgetown, Starrett City, Flatlands, Futurama, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Sheepshead Bay
Policy focus: Environment, education
Date of birth: July 25, 1945
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: B.A. in history and M.A. in urban studies, Long Island University; Certificate of administration and supervision in education, Brooklyn College
Previous occupation: Assemblyman
Family: Wife: Lynn; children: Terry, Lauren
Party: Democrat
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