Andy Sullivan has been a bar owner, blogger, construction superintendent on the new Freedom Tower, and Tea Party activist — and he hopes to add New York City councilman from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst to his resume this fall. Whether getting his fellow tradesmen to sign onto his “Hardhat Pledge” not to work on the controversial Park51 project — also known as the “Ground Zero mosque” — agitating against the proposed Muslim house of worship on Voorhies Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, or appearing as a regular guest on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” and “The Sean Hannity Show,” Sullivan has never been one to back away from a controversy. We talked to him about his plan to replace Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) in November.
Will Bredderman: Let’s start with an easy one. What qualifies you to be a city councilman?
Andy Sullivan: Most who know me understand I’m a highly motivated individual. I got my first job in this district and my family is being raised in this district. I love this area, but for this type of change you need a individual capable of leading such a movement. I am that man. My record proves it! Look at the World Trade Center. Just a little over three and a half years ago it was an empty crater filled with the remains of our loved ones. Today it is teeming with over 3,000 union workers rebuilding this former symbol of economic power and liberty. There was also the preservation of the proposed location of the Ground Zero Mosque. Many pundits agreed after the President and Bloomberg supported this effort that it was going to happen no matter what was done. Well, the building still stands, Will, and many say it was my 9-11 Hard Hat Pledge, a grassroots mission statement that pushed the issue and eventually led us to victory.
WB: Okay then. It seems likely, though, that you’ll face a primary challenge from another Republican who will have the backing of the Kings County GOP leadership. How do you plan to defeat him?
AS: Every Republican household will have a clear choice: Andy Sullivan, a fighter who will always adhere to his word and core principles, or another establishment drone doing the bidding of people who make sure he gets a tax-funded paycheck. Here, in a three-to-one district where the Democrats are dominant and the GOP has been terrible at messaging or recruiting a new voter demographic, they need a crossover appeal candidate who comes from both worlds as I do. I am a union construction worker who supports unions — just not the corrupt leadership they spawn. Republicans want someone who can draw in the Reagan Democrats and still keep their conservative values intact, and they will see I am the candidate for the job.
WB: What about Councilman Gentile? He appears to be extremely popular in Bay Ridge. How will you beat him?
AS: I don’t believe his record is remarkable in any way. He seems more interested in political expediency and getting along with his party’s leadership than doing what is truly needed for the future of our district and this city. And his latest piece of legislation, concerning employers not “discriminating” against people who are unemployed is absurd! Although we all feel the plight of those who are unemployed, there is no doubt that this legislation will do little more than open up potential employers to frivolous lawsuits and will work against those who are unemployed because, like so much passed by the Council and Mr. Gentile, the climate created by city government is prohibitive to job creation.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderma