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Queens Chronicle

Briarwood activist running for Council

Andrea Veras seeking Democratic nomination for 24th District seat

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Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:50 am, Thu Dec 27, 2012.

Andrea Veras of Briarwood last week announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination in the City Council’s 24th District.

The community is now served by Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who is being term-limited out of office next year.

Briarwood was to be switched into the 29th District of Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) under the city’s original redistricting maps. But the maps were withdrawn following public uproar over allegations that a new council district was gerrymandered to benefit disgraced Democratic Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who was looking to run for a council seat.

New maps have not yet been submitted to the Council for aproval.

Veras, 57, has been active since 2010 in the Briarwood Task Force, a grass roots organization that has combated litter and graffiti, and has rallied for neighborhood-friendly changes to the construction project along the Van Wyck Expressway.

“Things have been good, but it’s not enough,” Veras said. “I want to do more. I want to be the type of politician who people can see when they come to the office. I want to be involved in policies that make a difference for people.”

Veras was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States 20 years ago. She has three grown children, with a daughter in medical school; one son who is an Iraq War veteran and another son who is in corporate management.

“I’m very proud of my children,” she said.

She is a paralegal who now works for Legal Aid in Queens.

Veras said she became seriously interested in civic activity with the Briarwood Task Force in 2010 when she became fed up with litter and graffiti near her home.

“I could have sold my apartment,” she said. “I decided to fix it.”

Aside from its street-cleaning activities, the Briarwood Task Force has been out in force since Hurricane Sandy, first clearing downed branches from roads and sidewalks and, most recently, collecting clothes, blankets, diapers, toiletries and baby formula for those left homeless by the storm.

Veras has not yet begun circulating nominating petitions, but has been sending out feelers to some local and county Democratic leaders and already planing some fundraisers.

“I can do better than this,” she said. “People on the Council put in policies that help their constituents. They make their lives better. I want an opportunity to help make those policies.”

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