City Councilmember David Yassky welcomed Eustacia Raymond, a new district aide for Greenpoint and Williamsburg, to his staff this past month.
“So far, I’ve been working to make sure community needs are met and facilitate agreements between the city and the community, whether it is replacing a traffic light, answering where seniors can find housing, and even helping [constituents] find food when people are hungry,” Raymond said.
Originally born in St. Vincent and reared in Brooklyn, Raymond attended Brooklyn College Academy in Midwood. She graduated from SUNY Purchase in 2007, concentrating in economics and political science, before working for the Economic Development Corporation on compliance issues.
“Coming from another city agency has helped me in the transition,” Raymond said. “I was able to make contacts with the Department of Finance, Housing and Preservation Development, and other city agencies when I was working at the EDC.”
Raymond sees issues surrounding development, real estate prices and hunger among the most significant constituent concerns she has been responding to this past month.
“People are anxious about new residents moving in and displacing current ones,” Raymond said. “David is concerned about development and we want to make sure the communities who are here have jobs and a place to live.”
Yassky’s district contains a number of different communities and cultural enclaves, including large Polish, Hasidic, Dominican and Puerto Rican populations. Raymond, a Spanish speaker, has been to dozens of community meetings over the past month, trying to better know the community groups the councilmember works with regularly.
“As an immigrant myself, I think I can relate to different groups in the community,” Raymond said. “I go to community board meetings and introduce myself wherever I am. I’d love to meet with some Polish groups. They’re on my list.”
A number of new staff members have joined the councilman’s office this year, including Jill Nelson, Chief of Staff; Tim Roberts, Policy Director; and Jake Maguire, Communications Director. Nelson, previously Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s Director of External Affairs, came on in March while Maguire, who previously worked at the left-leaning communications firm Global Strategy Group, joined the office in April. Roberts replaced the former policy director, Sam Rockwell, who left Williamsburg in January to go on tour with his rock band, The XYZ Affair.
“In the month I was here before Eustacia came on, it was a big job,” Maguire said. “We were all pitching in with [constituent relations]. Having one person sink their teeth into a neighborhood is really helpful for our office and for people in Greenpoint.”
None of the former members of Yassky’s staff have joined his comptroller campaign, which is still in its nascent stages. The campaign currently has a fundraiser, several interns, and a treasurer, but will likely expand after the summer or even into 2009.
Meanwhile, the councilmember’s district office remains focused on constituent concerns, community meetings and a full slate of events occurring this summer.
“It’s a much more valuable relationship to have Eustacia doing this work,” Maguire said. “It’s a breath of fresh air to have Eustacia around.”