Early Start For City Council Candidate
"Opportunity, Exposure and Access" are the factors that, Lewis says, will dominate his campaign as he gets out his message that he has a different approach to solving many of the community's problems.
Lewis says that he is highly qualified for the council position, based on his job experience and expertise. He has worked for 23 years in state and city agencies, and has much political experience as well.
Perhaps what is most interesting about him is not his experience, which he outlined at a recent meeting with The Wave editorial board, but his position on the current political atmos- phere and what he believes needs to be done to address the problems of the Far Rockaway community.
"People need to leave their ego at the door," he claims, "and start to demonstrate to them [the community] that there is someone that cares."
He discusses his approach, also known as "The Lewis Plan," in a clear and direct manner.
First, he explained with fervor, an elected official who physically sits in Rockaway is a necessity.
"You have to be on the ground, to walk the streets," he said. "You have to have a physical presence."
He said that there are a myriad of problems in Rockaway that need to be addressed, including the failure of the schools, the crumbling infrastructure and the inadequate transportation. He added that the police force needs to become more community-oriented, health care problems need to be resolved, as well as the development of a safe environment for children and the elderly.
Lewis argues that none of those issues has been adequately addressed by the present group of political representatives.
How does Lewis attempt to achieve those goals?
"I'm getting ten pairs of sneakers to walk," he says with a laugh. He explains that the only way to gain any success is to "be able to walk the streets, talk to folk, and be a part of the community." That is where the heart of his campaign lies: meeting members of the community, asking them what they believe needs to be done, and then involving them in the healing process.
Education also strikes a powerful chord for Lewis, as he explains that educational opportunities are lacking for children that yearn for them. More vocational schools are essential, as well as G.E.D programs.
He also explains that he is craving more recreation in Rockaway for its residents, such as movie theaters and bowling alleys to help bring the community back to what it was in the past. And Lewis does not suggest this with empty words, as he is the founder of the Freddy Lewis Basketball School, proving his true desire for further recreational activities.
The Queens College graduate also explained how he would like to bring the community council to work with the N.Y.P.D., and to draw attention to the rising issues in the Black community that he feels are not being addressed. "There is a lack of respect" he says, an issue that he vows to try to fix.
As Lewis outlines his plans to Wave editors, his friend and campaign helper Zandra Myers nods approvingly. "The drink without the chaser," as he describes her, seems to be a strong force in his campaign. The duo clearly is passionate about the huge problems Lewis is attempting to tackle.
When asked why he began campaigning this early, Lewis remarked that he intends to win and wants to prepare. He firmly believes that he can accomplish his goals because he has "the will and resolve" and he isn't looking for a career, but wants to complete "God's work and God's will."
"What's in your heart?" he asks, and then explains that this is his catchphrase. Lewis' passion and intent are overpoweringly obvious. The residents of Rockaway can only wait to see if his ten pairs of sneakers do, in fact, gain good use.