Now, each year on that day, Jackson Heights and Dromm play host to the Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, a vibrant annual event born of the organizing work Dromm started there in the early 1990’s.
The parade exemplifies Dromm’s special brand of activism in Queens, where Dromm, who is gay, is best known as a champion of gay rights.
Yet there is much more to Dromm’s candidacy than this aspect of his work, something he acknowledged he must prove in order to win the City Council’s 25th District seat.
Dromm - a decorated public school teacher and Democratic district leader - is running against Councilwoman Helen Sears, who is seeking a third term, and Stanley Kalathara, a community activist.
“I have been a strong advocate for my community for twenty years,” said Dromm. He said his consistent track record of challenging the status quo is “one of my greatest assets in running for City council.”
Dromm said if elected he would apply his community organizing to solve issues across the district - from sanitation services to crime, education, and small business growth.
“I’ve crossed bridges,” said Dromm, who was elected to the post of 39th Assembly District Leader, Part A, in 2002. He has since been re-elected three times. “That’s what needs to be done in our community. [We need to] bring people together.”
Dromm supports directing more resources towards community-based health initiatives. He said he would build local health centers for uninsured and low-income residents, so they no longer have to go to Elmhurst Hospital’s emergency room for primary care service.
Dromm criticized Sears for not doing more to save St. John’s Hospital, which closed earlier this year.
“How could she have allowed St. John’s to close?” said Dromm. “Someone should have been out there screaming and yelling.”
Likewise, he said the district - which is small, geographically, but has a dense, largely immigrant population - needs more city resources to improve education, sanitation services, and traffic congestion and help struggling small business whether the recession.
Dromm noted that securing funding for these and other projects, including efforts to reduce crime and encourage the development of affordable housing, will be harder than ever, but said that doesn’t mean they can’t be done.
“I know we have a budget crisis, but we still need someone” to fight for the district’s needs, Dromm said. He said his relationship with elected officials in Queens and throughout the city would help him advocate for his district and achieve immediate results.
Indeed, Dromm has racked up a list of important endorsements that could give the incumbent Sears, the Democratic party candidate, pause for worry.
Dromm has been endorsed by Assemblyman Jose Peralta, Queens Council members Julissa Ferreras and Eric Gioia, and the Working Families Party, among others.
The Democratic primary will be held on September 15.