On the Record
by Holly Tsang
Jul 14, 2009 | 19070 views | 0 0 comments | 708 708 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When one has worked in politics for as long as Bill Saunders has, you expect him to become a bit cynical, but even decades later, he remains inspiringly optimistic.

He declined to give his age, but he said, "You can bet your life I'm a senior citizen."

Most of Saunders' life has centered on politics. Raised by a politically conscious mother he referred to as "Republican chairlady," he has worked as manager on many a campaign. From 1998-2008, he served as state committeeman, an elected liaison between his community and elected officials.

Saunders ran for City Council in 2001, but a loss could not crush his passion for politics, so he continued working to help others get elected. Today, Saunders serves as the district director for David Weprin, who is chair of the Council's Finance Committee and a candidate for NYC Comptroller.

He believes Weprin has the financial know-how to help pull the city out of a difficult economic climate, so he has devoted his time to help Weprin get elected.

"Why sit in the antechamber of death waiting to be called? I think as long as I got breath, I'm gonna do something in the community to help the community," said Saunders.

Saunders has lived in Clinton Hill his entire life. He has seen great change, but the neighborhood has always been on the incline, contrary to the way it has been depicted in the past. It is integrated, people get along, schools are great, and graduation rates are up.

"Let's face it-it was never a bad neighborhood. Never. Now it's reaching its pinnacle," said Saunders.

Of course, he knows that politics is still a powerful vehicle for positive change, and there is always room for growth. He would love to see more young people get into the public service sector, but he feels they are at a disadvantage.

"I am concerned that money has replaced energy in the political arena," said Saunders.

Especially in the current recession, young people have to fight harder than ever to buy an entry in the race. But if they can get past that, Saunders is confident his community and city will be in good hands.

"I feel very strongly about the next generation. If the economics improve-and it must improve-you'll see great strides. It will be their responsibility and they're not going to lose it," said Saunders. "Just as we didn't lose it, they're not going to lose it."

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