When Earnest Flowers wakes up in the morning, he is a man with a plan. He has his day and his week all mapped out. His mind is always working, organizing and thinking about new ways to do things. Flowers said it is those skills that he will bring to public office.
He has his sights set on the 31st District seat being vacated by City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), who will be term-limited out in 2013. He faces opponents Jacques Leandre, a lawyer and founder of the Rosedale Jets Football Association, and Donovan Richards, Sanders’ chief of staff.
Flowers, 41, of Laurelton has never run for office before but he has worked as community liaison for Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica), for the last two years. Among his top priorities are job creation, crime reduction and improving senior services.
“Don’t overpromise. Don’t underdeliver,” Flowers said is his motto. “When you say something, you have to do it.”
He took a leave of absence from working with Scarborough in order to run for office. His main businesses is Crown Media and Communications, a marketing firm.
Flowers was motivated to run for City Council by both his desire to help the community and his time working with Scarborough, whom he views as a mentor. “Seeing how he works and how dedicated he is — not many politicians are well-liked all the time. He’s one of the few. ... He’s so genuine, and when he says he’s going to do something, he does it.”
Scarborough praised Flowers, but said he is not ready to endorse anyone yet.
“He’s a very bright young man. He’s very diligent and interested in community issues. He is often involved in trying to help small businesses and bring things to the community that are needed such as healthcare services and youth programs.”
Flowers called jobs “the lifeblood of the community,” stating that they affect everything from the strength of the family unit to the prevalence of crime. He said he plans to increase economic development by collaborating with other lawmakers at every level of government in trying to convince outside investors to come to the district.
“You don’t need to go to any other state or country — all the revenue, all the brainpower, all the genius, is right here in Southeast Queens,” Flowers said. “You just have to give people hope and you have to show them a new way of thinking, a transparent way of thinking. That’s the only way things are going to change in this community.”
He is going to help create a small business expo coming up in the next couple of months
Another top priority for Flowers is crime reduction. He is a proponent of installing surveillance cameras because he says they have been proven to curb crime. He said there are two ways to finance them, either through state and federal grants or by having interested residents pool their money to cover the cost.
According to Flowers it is just as important to address the root of crime in the district. “There is a lack of services and activities for youth,” he said. “The family unit is falling apart or is nonexistent in many young men’s lives. The educational system has failed them and so they turn to gangs and illegal activity.”
Flowers co-founded the Northeastern Conference Junior Basketball League 13 years ago, a group he says has helped hundreds of youth stay on the right path. He is also writing a book about the positive impact of sports for ministry and youth development. And he is penning a self-help book on how to deal with life issues.
When it comes to keeping senior centers open and securing services for older adults, it all comes down to funding, Flowers said, and he plans to fight vigilantly to ensure that it is not taken away. Part of his plan is to stretch dollars further by collaborating with corporations and nonprofits and showing them a quantifiable benefit for helping seniors.
“If you can market yourself effectively, you can ingratiate yourself into the consumers’ minds and that’s what we have to do — make them feel for the seniors,” Flowers said.
Flowers has been married to his wife, Alicia, 38, since 2001. She is a pediatrician with her own practice in Manhattan. They plan to start a family soon. Flowers has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala. and is working on completing an MBA from St. John’s University.