Brooklyn resident Andy Sullivan, the son of Irish immigrants, has announced his intension to run for the 9th Congressional District seat which was left vacant by Congressman Anthony Weiner’s resignation last Thursday.
"My biggest qualification for taking this political job is that I am not a politician,” Sullivan, a registered Republican, told the Irish Voice.
A founding member of the Brooklyn Tea Party, Sullivan, 46, is the founder of the 9/11 Hard Hat Pledge, which opposes the construction of a mosque close to the site of Ground Zero.
The 9th District has not elected a Republican since the 1920s, but the Tea Party candidate believes he stands a good chance in the race.
Speaking to the Irish Voice about his election bid, he maintains his background in the private sector will give him an edge against other candidates. “Right now the public sentiment towards politicians is probably at the lowest in my lifetime, with the economic crisis and rising gas prices,” says Sullivan.
“It is about time to draw someone from the private sector, not a genetically bred politician who runs one campaign into the next. I know what it takes to run a small business and stimulate the economy. “As a construction worker and Tea Party activist I believe that in this period of skyrocketing fuel and food costs, it is time we had one of our own representing us, someone who actually feels the impact."
Sullivan is a long time New York union construction worker who was working across the street from the Twin Towers in One Liberty on 9/11. He spent several weeks following the terrorist attacks working in the bucket brigade clean up. “I have no experience of living in a world where there are no consequences,” said the father of two.
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So far, Sullivan says he has received a positive response from constituents in the 9th District, which straddles both Brooklyn and Queens. He admits he was considering running prior to the Weiner scandal broke.
“This is something I have been talking about to other Tea Party members for a while,” he revealed.
Speaking about the controversy over the Weiner debacle which has unfolded over the past three weeks, Sullivan said his thoughts and prayers are with Weiner’s family. “It was horrible for the community, terrible for the political world over all,” Sullivan said.
Speaking about the high numbers of Irish immigrants currently arriving in the U.S., Sullivan said it was an issue close to his heart. “I am pro-immigration; I think bringing people in is part of the dream. As long as there is a fresh batch of new Americans, it keeps the dream alive,” he said. “Sometimes it takes the influx of immigrants to wake everybody up that this is the number one place in town and it’s a blessing that you were born here and have a Social Security number,” Sullivan added.
Careful to tow the party line, Sullivan added that he was also pro-national security when he said, “We need to solve the problem at the borders primarily.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce in the coming days when the special election for the vacant seat will be held.