Dan Guarino. That’s a name you’ve probably heard, whether its through seeing his byline in local newspapers, seeing him perform at local music venues, his involvement with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, or at numerous events around Rockaway and Broad Channel. You may see that name elsewhere this year—on the ballot for City Council.
At the Community Board 14 meeting on Tuesday, May 9, Guarino announced his run for the role currently held by Councilman Eric Ulrich. As a Democrat, he will pursue City Council for District 32, covering Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven.
Our fellow colleague, a former reporter for The Rockaway Times, and now editor of our sister publication, The North Shore Local in Staten Island, explained his decision to pursue politics. “The main reason I’m deciding to run is because I love these communities. They’re all different in their own way. This is home for me and I want to take what I’ve been doing for so many years by supporting and promoting them as much as I can, and take that a step further,” Guarino, who has lived in Broad Channel for nearly 30 years and Far Rockaway for before then, said.
Guarino believes he has the qualifications to make him a great fit for the role. “Because I haven’t been in politics before, I’m coming in from a totally different angle. I’m coming in from seeing things as a resident and a consumer. I think that gives me a different perspective. I do a lot of listening. I move in a lot of different circles and I hear people’s concerns, especially with working for local community newspapers over the past five years. I’ve gotten to see a lot, hear people’s issues and really understand what their concerns are. I really want to do what I can to address these issues and continue to support local businesses and organizations,” he said.
In addition to being involved with local newspapers, Guarino stepped in to serve as president of the Rockaway Artists Alliance and bring it back to life, following Hurricane Sandy. Since he took over the role, RAA has gotten some worldwide recognition through partnerships with the Museum of Modern Art. “As president, I have taken the organization, that was devastated after Hurricane Sandy, to a world-class organization that has brought positive attention to the Rockaways and that celebrates local artists and art education,” he said.
Prior to working in the news business, Guarino gained leadership experience as manager of Time Warner Cable for nearly 20 years. “I managed five supervisors and was responsibe for about 1,000 people and 1.5 million customers. I learned a lot about how business and corporate works, problem solving and getting things done. As councilman, I would be sure to get things done for these local communities,” Guarino said.
What are some of the things Guarino would focus on as councilman? “I think the number one issue for a lot of these areas is transportation. That doesn’t just mean getting people back and forth. It is a connection to more job opportunities and business opportunities and bringing people in to boost the local economy, so we need to focus on improving it. Another big issue is the economy. I want to ensure that city agencies are doing everything they can to support small businesses and ensure they survive, especially during that first year when businesses struggle the hardest. Some other things to consider are environmental issues, especially after Sandy.
“I’m a lifelong New Yorker and as far as I can remember, this city has centered around Manhattan, but these other areas are starting to get recognition and I want to ensure our communities get their fair share and the attention they deserve. That’s why I want to make sure that when a decision is being made about the community, that community input is taken into high consideration.”