Vying to be Beep - Yvonne Graham throws hat into the ring

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The special assistant to Borough President Marty Markowitz, Yvonne Graham, said last week she will run for borough president next year to succeed her boss.

Graham resigned last February as deputy borough president to set up an exploratory committee to determine her viability as a candidate for borough president.

In order to change positions, she successfully applied to and was given approval from the City’s Conflict of Interest Board.

Markowitz said Graham informed him of her decision to run to succeed him.

“I’ve endorsed her and think she will make an excellent borough president. She’s articulate, a consummate professional and can make a compelling argument for becoming borough president,” said Markowitz.

Although Graham has never held elected office, Markowitz pointed out she knows the position on the inside as a deputy borough president.

“Being an elected official gives you good training, but Mayor Bloomberg never held office and he made a mighty good mayor. She has the experience,” he said.

Born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, Graham moved to New York in 1979, where she became a registered nurse and worked in the emergency room of Brookdale Hospital.

In addition to being an RN, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration and Community Health from St. Joseph’s College and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Hunter College.

Graham also completed the executive program in business administration at Columbia University School of Business, and recently an Honorary Doctor of Law degree was conferred on her by her alma mater, St. Joseph’s College.

Before coming into office, Graham founded and was executive director of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association (CWHA), which provides comprehensive, culturally-sensitive health care, immigration, and social support services to diverse communities.

In entering the 2009 borough president race, Graham will join City Councilmembers Bill de Blasio and Charles Barron, who have both declared they are running for the position.

Graham is not listed as having raised any money in the New York City Board of Elections campaign finance reports.

Also confirming they are considering a run for borough president are State Sen. Carl Kruger and City Councilmember Domenic Recchia.

As special assistant to Markowitz, Graham’s salary is $120,528.

The borough president’s annual salary is $160,000.

Updated 3:48 pm, October 19, 2011
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