Man of the Year: Councilman Dennis Gallagher - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the March 2005 Juniper Berry Magazine

Man of the Year: Councilman Dennis Gallagher

Tom Ognibene and Dennis Gallagher

Dennis Gallagher was first elected to the New York City Council in the November 2001 election, the election that immediately followed the horrors of September 11th.

Gallagher was elected because of his extensive background in governmental service and his experience as the Chief of Staff for former Council Member Thomas V. Ognibene. In April 2002, the Juniper Park Civic Association penned an article entitled Gallagher: The Man Who Saved Middle Village.

At that time, we talked about Gallagher as a first year incumbent, his energy and a Council Member who brought a common sense approach to government. We praised him as being accessible, accountable and fighting for the interest of the communities and people he represents; neighborhood people like you and I who understand that the middle class has been disregarded for years and we need a fighter who will stand up for the issues that are important to us both individually and as a community.

Gallagher subsequently was re-elected to a second term on the Republican and Conservative lines. He represents the communities of Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.

His district includes approximately 160,000 community residents. In order to understand Council Member Gallagher's commitment to our community, it is essential we understand his background.

Dennis Gallagher was born on December 19, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York. He is the middle child of 7 children. He has five brothers and one sister. Dennis attended St. Michael's elementary school, Power Memorial Academy and Pace University. The Juniper Park Civic Association is proud to announce that Council Member Dennis P. Gallagher has been selected as Man of the Year for 2005. He has earned our gratitude and respect while serving as our Councilman for the last four years.

From the Keyspan/Elmhurst Gas Tanks battle to regular skirmishes with a host of irrational colleagues on the floor of the NYC Council, Gallagher has distinguished himself as a dependable defender of the Middle Class and its values.

At Pace University, Dennis was elected as his Freshman Class President. In his sophomore year, he was re-elected as the Sophomore Class President, and had the additional duties of Chairman of the Lectures Committee, member of the Debate Team, President of the Criminal Justice Society and an honorary member of the Dorm Council. In his junior year, he was selected to participate in a highly competitive program entitled The Pace University Leadership Development Program.

He also served as the Vice President of the Student Government Association. Gallagher received special honors including the Robert W. Okerson award as Pace University's Outstanding Four-Year Student and the Cultural Achievement award. He also received special honors from the Dean and completed his leadership development program.

Gallagher was selected to the Silver Gavel Honor Society and was chosen as a member of Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.

When Council Member Gallagher left Pace University, he immediately entered into government, serving as an advisor to the Mayoral campaign of Diane McGrath. Gallagher then became an Investigator for the State of New York Crime Victims Board where he assisted innocent victims of crime in obtaining reimbursement for losses sustained as a result of those crimes.

In 1987, Dennis married Donna Miller, the mother of their two children, Patrick, 16, and Kevin, 14. Gallagher went on to become the Regional Coordinator for the New York State Assembly Republicans where he formulated policy and made recommendations to the leadership of the Assembly Minority in the needs for legislation. At that time, Gallagher helped form an adjunct anti crime committee called Citizens for Appropriate Punishment, and served as Vice Chairman.

Gallagher witnessed first hand the devastation that crime had on victims and Citizens for Appropriate Punishment was created as a vehicle to lobby our elected officials for the restoration of the Death Penalty and to help put violent criminals behind bars. This was the beginning of Dennis' community and civic activism and he was recognized for his leadership and offered a position as Executive Assistant to State Senator Serphin R. Maltese.

Gallagher served in that capacity until he became Chief of Staff to former Council Member Tom Ognibene and served in that capacity for 10 years, gaining an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of City government and valuable political experience.

During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Gallagher became active with the Queens County Republican Party and served as Governor George Pataki's Queens County Coordinator and took an active leadership role in the election of Rudolph Giuliani as Mayor and continued that role during the Mayor's 1997 reelection campaign.

During his tenure as a staff member in the City Council, Gallagher worked hand in hand with Tom Ognibene and Rudy Giuliani in helping to preserve and enhance the quality of life for our community. Gallagher initiated the fight against the Children of the Rainbow Curriculum with former community board President and JPCA President Mary Cummins. He steadfastly opposed the placement of homeless shelters in our residential communities. He fought against the placement of a 35 screen multi-plex movie theater in our back yard. Gallagher worked with the Coalition to Save Engine Company 294. He also worked hand in hand with Tom Ognibene to insure that this community received its fair share of services and funding.

During the tenure of Council Member Gallagher, more of our hard earned tax dollars has come back to the community in services and improvements than ever before.

PARKS

Juniper Valley Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the City of New York. Due to the efforts of our Council Member, the upper ball fields, the track, Brennan Field and soon the newly renovated upper playground make Juniper a state of the art park that we in the community can be proud of. Councilman Gallagher has obtained millions of capital improvement dollars for each and every park within his district so that our children and seniors have a place to play and reflect.

EDUCATION

Councilman Gallagher has implemented a Readers Are Leaders program that has been highly acclaimed as an innovative program that fosters a love of reading for third grade students. Gallagher's commitment to education extends beyond classroom activities. He's been in the forefront in providing state of the art computer technology and science labs to the public schools within his district.

Gallagher has sponsored legislation that would mandate the installation of security cameras at our public schools. Dennis also takes an active role in each school within his district and serves as a guest lecturer encouraging children to reach their full potential.

YOUTH AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

Councilman Dennis Gallagher has been a sports mentor for over 14 years serving as a coach for his local parish and with RGMVM Little League. In his tenure as Council Member, Gallagher has increased funding for neighborhood youth programs including after school programs, sports and summer

youth employment.

SENIOR SERVICES

Councilman Gallagher is just a phone call away for the senior citizens in his district. In his short time in the Council, he has managed to triple the amount of senior citizen funding that had been previously allocated to the 30th Council District. He has helped keep senior centers open and is the Queens representative on the City Council Committee on Aging.

He has spearheaded the dramatic increase in senior transportation programs, Meals-on-Wheels and improvements to senior centers. Fighting to insure that our community is safe, protected and vibrant has been the hallmark of Gallagher's tenure in government.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT COUNCILMAN GALLAGHER'S LEGISLATIVE AND COMMUNITY RECORD

Councilman Gallagher is one of only three elected officials to vote against each and every tax increase that was passed in the City Council. He was one of the leaders in opposition to the outrageous 18.5% property tax increase. Dennis not only opposed the increase but offered alternative solutions that were ignored by the tax and spend City Council. Councilman Dennis Gallagher opposed the increases on cigarette taxes and increases in parking violations and fees. He understands that this adversely affects the hard working, middle class and working families of the City of New York.

Councilman Gallagher is leading the fight against Intro. 464. This bill would require the Department of Education to translate all notices and documents into 9 languages. Gallagher believes that the 20 million dollar cost of this legislation could be better spent on educating our children in the classroom, and not in creating another bureaucratic nightmare. He believes we should encourage newcomers to learn and become proficient in English in order to assimilate and become a part of American Society. Gallagher has introduced legislation to combat graffiti vandalism. His office sponsors Graffiti Removal weekends where hundreds of community volunteers join together to fight the blight of graffiti.

Gallagher was instrumental in the fight to turn KeySpan from its proposed commercial development to a park. He used his influence with the Mayor and worked with the Juniper Park Civic Association to overcome overwhelming odds and score a great victory for our environment and for the preservation of our community.

Councilman Gallagher is the lead elected official in the fight against the proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel. Gallagher spearheaded a drive in which 10,000 individually signed letters were delivered to the New York City Economic Development Corporation and each one registered as an objection to the Cross Harbor development. Gallagher clearly understands that 16,000 trucks a day plowing through our local streets would make our community unbearable. The proposed massive 200-foot high intermodal facility would displace local businesses and further adversely impact their workers.

Each day, our community is losing residential character and harm because of unscrupulous real estate developers who have little care for our community. Councilman Gallagher has initiated an Overdevelopment Task Force along with the Juniper Park Civic Association. Our community is presently in the process of going through a contextual zoning application that would down-zone our community and preserve its character. He clearly supports this effort. We don't have to ask where Councilman Gallagher stands because we know he stands, with us. A message to our Man of the Year, keep up the good work.

Councilman Dennis Gallagher joins previous awardees in the JPCA Man of the Year Award, they include, Councilman Tom Ognibene (1996), Mayor Rudy Giuliani (1997), Governor George Pataki (1998), CB5 Chair Frank Principe (1999), NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi (2000), State Senator Serf Maltese (2001), Congressman Joe Crowley (2002), and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2003).