Bay Ridge

Ex-cop announces run for Donovan’s House seat

June 1, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Michael DeCillis is the fourth Democrat to announce for the race against Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in 2018. Photo courtesy of DeCillis

The race to see which Democrat will challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan when he runs for re-election next year is getting more crowded.

Michael DeCillis, a Bay Ridge resident who has served as a police officer and a teacher, said he is ready to take on the incumbent at the ballot box in 2018.

DeCillis, a retired police officer who is now a special education teacher, is the fourth Democrat to announce his intention to run.

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In early May, Boyd Melson, a retired professional boxer, announced that he intended to run for Donovan’s seat. Melson is seeking campaign donations through a funding page he has set up on actblue.com, a website that promotes left-leaning and progressive candidates.

Zach Emig, a bond trader, and Michael DeVito Jr., an executive in a nonprofit firm, have also filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The four men will all run in a Democratic Primary to determine who will secure the party’s nomination to run against Donovan in the Nov. 7 election.

DeCillis said he has deep roots in the 11th Congressional District, which Donovan represents. The district covers the entire borough of Staten Island and also includes all or parts of several Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Gravesend.

DeCillis, who was born on Staten Island and now lives in Bay Ridge, started volunteering at the hospital where he was born, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, at the age of 16. Over the years, he has worked as a paramedic, police officer, lawyer and teacher. He is a member of both the UFT and the PBA.


“My experience leaves me uniquely qualified to take on the issues that matter most to our district. It’s not about saying the right things, it’s about doing the right things,” DeCillis said in a statement.

Donovan, the former Staten Island district attorney, has represented the 11th District since winning a special election for the seat in 2015. He easily won re-election in 2016. He is the only Republican in New York City’s congressional delegation.

But DeCillis called Republican President Donald Trump’s performance so far uneven and said it could give a Democrat an edge against Donovan. Democrats have been becoming increasingly energized to take on Donovan, he said.

“We have an opportunity for the first time in a generation to change course in our district, and take control of the issues that affect us most. If elected as your member of Congress, I know together we can address and overcome the great challenges we face in our community,” he said.

DeCillis has vowed to make sure that public schools are fully funded and said he will advocate for strong environmental protection regulations, services for military veterans and protections for immigrants.

DeCillis also said he would aggressively defend Planned Parenthood to protect its mission to provide health care to millions.

Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for Donovan, told the Staten Island Advance that the member of Congress “is laser-focused on governing” and that when the election takes place next year, Donovan’s campaign team will highlight his record of serving the residents of his district.


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