4/22/09

Meet Mel Gagarin - Queens City Council Candidate, D29

Melquiades Gagarin was born in Elmhurst, Queens to a diverse family background. His father was raised in the Philippines and moved to New York to pursue a better life. Gagarin's mother is a first generation New Yorker born to Puerto Rican parents. Mel was raised largely by his grandmother Ramona and mother Maria, a nurse at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Both women emphasized the value of hard work and education.

After graduating from Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Mel took the values instilled by his family and attended The American University in Washington, D.C. Earning his degree in Political Science, it was at American where Mel developed his passion for public service, and met hisfuture wife, Aleda. After graduation, Mel served as a Board Liaison for the National Foundation for Women Legislators in Washington, a non-profit organization that helps female state legislators develop leadership skills.
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In the fall of 2005, Mel and Aleda returned to New York and moved to Kew Gardens. That same year, Mel served as the Communications Liaison to New York State Senator José Serrano in East Harlem. His work in Senator Serrano's office attracted the attention of Congressman Anthony Weiner, who hired Mel as his Community Representative.

It was in Congressman Weiner's office that Mel had the opportunity to meet with many individuals in the community. Mel became familiar with the hurdles that the average New Yorker faces in having their basic needs met by the different levels of government. Gagarin brings this same desire into his campaign to represent the 29th Council District. "Our neighborhoods need a new and vibrant vision at City Hall," says Gagarin. Our city must remain a haven of shared prosperity for New York's middle-class. Our future demands action that cannot wait."

Mel currently works as the Media Manager for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he is responsible for disseminating the organization's message of equality and justice for all Americans. Mel is a member of the New York State Young Democrats and the National Association of Black Journalists. He is also working with a group of his neighbors in Kew Gardens who areunited against irresponsible development.

Mel lives with his wife Aleda and two year old son Micah. They are expecting their second child in time for the New Year.

Source: Meet the Candidates with ChangeNYC.Org
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