Kenichi Wilson, a lifelong resident of Queens who has become a staple in the community while serving as chairperson for Community Board 9, is making a run for the south Queens seat being vacated by Councilman Eric Ulrich.
He is running a campaign based around his government experience and years of volunteering in the community, which he said provides a solid foundation to help effect change within the district.
“I already have a relationship with all the agencies, and I know the needs of the community,” he said. “They like the principles I stand on.”
Wilson said he wants to improve the general quality of life by focusing on better education and tackling crime in the district, which stretches from Breezy Point to Ozone Park and Woodhaven.
“People want to feel good when they come back to their neighborhood from working on a very hard day,” he said.
He highlighted his ability to achieve goals in government as a volunteer, such as having cameras installed for public safety in schools, as well as building close ties to the 102nd Precinct.
“I can do this on a bigger level, especially with more resources,” he said. “It’s very hard to introduce yourself to an agency, build a relationship and actually get projects done and funded. I already have a good working relationship with all the agencies that are in place.”
Wilson also brought up his experience running a business that rents out rehearsal spaces, instruments and more for prominent music institutions like Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic.
“Within my business, doing these large-scale and multi-million dollar projects, you have to work with what you have and budget yourself,” he said. “Being in the City Council seat, those skills will benefit me.”
COVID-19 is also a pressing issue within the community, one that Wilson is working to alleviate by volunteering at food giveaways and increasing testing and contact tracing to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Everything is slowly coming back to normal, but it’s going to take a long time,” he said. “First things first is to get the number of positive cases down.”
He is running as a Democrat, but insisted that his campaign will be “nonpartisan,” saying that party lines are not going to be useful in helping constituents.
“I want to bring City Council back to the community,” Wilson said. “I enjoy going out there and meeting people and listening to their concerns, hopefully the party doesn’t cloud any of that. I really wish it wouldn’t be thought of as a fact.”
His predecessor, Republican Eric Ulrich, is leaving a district that has swayed right in the past, although there is competition from a new wave of progressive politicians.
Wilson will face off against a Working Families Party-supported candidate in Felicia Singh, as well as a 21-year-old St. John’s University senior Shaleigh Severino.
“Everybody has their ideas on what they want to do, but unless you’ve been out there in the community and walk the streets like I do, you might not know the needs of the community,” Wilson said.
He added that out of all the candidates running for City Council, he believes that he is the one who has the ability to improve the community.
“I’m sure I could bring more to the area with my ideas and my background,” Wilson said. “I would love the opportunity to serve this district.”
Primary elections for the City Council seat will take place on June 22.