Born and raised in Woodside to union member parents, Van Bramer attended public schools before eventually landing a job with the Queens Public Library, where he currently serves as the chief external affairs officer.
With the library, Van Bramer has advocated for English language classes and improved after-school programs.
Van Bramer is also on the Land Use Committee of Community Board 2, and serves as his neighborhood representative for the New York State Democratic Committee. He is also the president of the West Queens Independent Democratic Club.
He said his experience with the library and various civic organizations has helped him establish a set of priorities centered on education - and, most of all, on affordable housing - that would carry over well to the City Council.
“The single most important thing is quality affordable housing,” Van Bramer said.
An opponent of large-scale, out-of-context development, Van Bramer said he supports inclusionary zoning regulations that also addresses moderate-income housing needs, an issue in Long Island City.
Van Bramer said LIC’s Queens West section is “like an island” of affluent newcomers slowly taking over what was once a solidly middle- and working-class community.
He said for sustainable development to happen, residents who live in the river front high rises, known to some, including to Van Bramer, as “tower people,” must become more invested in their local community.
He said his job as an elected official would be to bring older residents and the newer ones together to determine their neighborhood’s future. He said he would his community and library organizing skills to bring all parties to the table.
“The question is how do we make Long Island City the best it can be?” Van Bramer aseked. “How do we find common ground?” (Daniel Bush)