By Vania Andre and Soraya Denis
QUEENS, NY – Attorney Clyde Vanel is looking to ensure the next generation of New Yorkers is able to live out the American dream like he and his family were able to. On Sept. 13, Vanel, who was raised in the middle-class Queens neighborhood of Cambria Heights, will face four challengers for the 33rd Assembly District seat. His opponents include fellow Haitian American, Sabine French.
If elected, Vanel would represent Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Queens Village, Hollis and Bellerose.
“I’m running because I want a kid that’s growing up in this neighborhood in 2016 to have the same opportunity we did,” Vanel said. The candidate was born to Haitian immigrants, whom he says came to the U.S. to find the “American Dream.” His father worked as a taxi driver and his mother cleaned office buildings in Manhattan to support their 10 children, and provide a quality home and life for them.
“We live in a time where the next generation won’t be able to live in the house they grew up in, let alone the neighborhood they grew up in.”
The attorney political career began in 2009, when he challenged former Councilman Leroy Comrie, who has since become a state Senator. Vanel also ran against the late Assemblymember Barbara Clark in 2010 and 2012, who passed away in February, leaving her seat vacant.
Despite his losses in 2010 and 2012, Vanel believes he has a greater chance this time around given the candidates this year are all first time runners.
“Everyone who’s running is a first time runner, so its an advantage to have name recognition,” he said. “I’ve had my office in the neighborhood for the past 5 years, and we’ve also learned a lot. We’ve learned what’s important to focus on and where to spend our resources.
“We need policy to understand where we are today, if we are losing generations I don’t know what’s going to happen to NY,” Vanel said, “we need to make it easier for people to start, grow and stay.”
Polls for the Sept. 13 primary open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.