Former NY paramedic sets sights on Congress

Michael DeCillis, who treated firefighters on 9/11, is running for a seat in District 11, representing Staten Island and part of Brooklyn


By Kristin F. Dalton
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Michael DeCillis, who has spent decades serving New York City in a variety of civil and public service roles, is now embarking on a journey that he hopes will lead to serving his community in a new way.

DeCillis, a Democrat and Staten Island native who now lives in Bay Ridge, officially announced his congressional run for District 11, which encompasses Staten Island and a portion of South Brooklyn — at least, at the moment.

New York Congressional hopeful Michael DeCillis shared this photo of himself on his public Facebook page, calling for higher wages for EMTs.
New York Congressional hopeful Michael DeCillis shared this photo of himself on his public Facebook page, calling for higher wages for EMTs. (Photo/Michael DeCillis)

The New York State Redistricting Commission is currently working to redraw the state's congressional districts. After redistricting, Staten Island could have one district for the whole borough and part of either Manhattan or Brooklyn like the current district that covers the Island. Legally, the borough could be split into two districts.

"I'm running because it's time we had a representative that listened to the needs of the community. Our voices matter and it's time people had a say about the decisions that are made in Washington," DeCillis said.

DeCillis says he is a fourth-generation Staten Islander.

Working as a paramedic for a decade, DeCillis was a first responder on Sept. 11, helping to treat firefighters on the night of the attack. He worked as an NYPD officer for a decade before becoming a civil litigation attorney as director of legislation and chief of staff in the New York State Assembly. He later worked as a special education teacher for the city Department of Education ( DOE).

DeCillis launched a congressional run in 2018, but bowed out of the seven-way Democratic primary in March of that year, saying the early intervention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee prevented him from running the campaign he hoped to run.

"Our current representative voted against President Biden's relief bill that brought funding to our community health centers. Our current representative was the only member of NYC's Congressional Delegation to vote against the PRO Act, despite representing a district that is home to many union members," DeCillis, a third-generation union member, said about Rep. Nicole Malliotakis.

He said Malliotakis' worst action was her vote objecting Biden's win "even after she had to escape the U.S. Capitol from the January 6th insurrection."

"NY-11 has had enough and it's time we bring back real congressional representation to our district," he concluded.

Natalie Baldassarre, Malliotakis' spokeswoman said, "The congresswoman is fully engaged in representing the needs of her constituents in Washington. The last thing the community needs is another Pelosi puppet like Max Rose in Congress."

DeCillis joins U.S. Army veteran and local organizer Brittany Ramos DeBarros, who filed her candidacy as a Democrat with the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 10. DeBarros also said Malliotakis' votes against the certification of Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania was a part of what drove her to run for office.

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(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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