Together, we can solve our problems
Tom Shcherbenko is both the Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for Staten Island Borough President.
Community participation is crucial, as people don’t trust “top down solutions.”
Together, We Have It All
“His support of our picket lines during the [Verizon] strike was instrumental to our victory.”Steve Lawton
“A former teacher, Tom instills strong civic values in our youth by dressing up as George Washington every year for our annual student essay contest using his community activism and teaching skills.”Rosemarie Mangano
Tom Shcherbenko - Growing Up
Tom was raised by a single working mother and a working grandmother. His mom worked nights while his grandma took the day shift at a camera factory assembly line. She believed that FDR and the labor union movement were the greatest achievements in American history. Meanwhile, his mom worked in a theatre district night club and came home with stories from the entertainment community that seemed far away from their apartment in Astoria. Through his grandma, he grew up understanding that workplace equality and discrimination were not abstract concepts, and from his mom, he learned that there were smart, skilled, and kind people that came from every ethnic and cultural background, and that sexual and gender identification did not decide or limit such qualities.
Tom attended public school at a time when de facto segregation reigned in Queens. Strong beliefs in public school integration and other social progress ideas about racism led him to the political campaigns of Mayor Lindsay and Franklin Roosevelt II. This coincided with the rise of the New Democratic Coalition, in which he played an active role.
Coming of Age
By that time, the war in Vietnam became the biggest headline in the news. Although he never met his father, Tom knew he had been a WWII paratrooper in the Pacific Theatre, and Tom wanted to join the Marines to continue that noble cause, or at the very least serve on a PT boat as President Kennedy had. However, as news stories questioning the United States’ involvement in that war grew, so did Tom’s own doubts about the war and many other justice issues, such as the death penalty. At that time, the environmental movement was growing strong as well and he realized there was a common thread to all the protests, rallies, and marches: the idea that politics can be used to build a government that protects the weakest among us even if they look, talk, or act very differently from ourselves.
After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, he began college as a physics major at the Clarkson College of Technology. After one semester, his fascination with history and politics caused him to transfer to SUNY Albany, where he changed majors and chose to become a Social Studies teacher, focusing on world studies.
For a few years, Tom switched careers to work in computer programming so he could employ the mathematics skills he loved as a child. Later, he returned to teaching, which allowed him to have more time with his three children and their soccer games, karate lessons, and recitals. He then became active with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), coached soccer, earned a blue belt in karate, and revealed his love for dancing.
Twenty years ago, Tom moved to the Stapleton neighborhood of Staten Island, where he still resides with his wife, Liz and youngest daughter, Diana. He became active with local Democratic Party efforts, such as Tyrone Butler and Anne Taylor’s house party in support of Hillary Clinton during her run for Senate in February 2000, which led to his membership in the Staten Island Democratic Association (S.I.D.A.). He also became active in his local civic group, the Mud Lane Society for the Renaissance of Stapleton, where he served as Vice President and is currently Historian.
In 2013, after retiring from teaching, Tom became President of S.I.D.A. and managed Lou Liedy’s campaign for Borough President. In 2015, he organized Staten Island delegates for Bernie Sanders and was elected as delegate to the national convention alongside Anne Taylor. As he was a friend of Hillary’s delegates—including Councilwoman Debi Rose, Richmond County Democratic Chairman John Gulino, and UFT President Michael Mulgrew—he saw the convention more as an opportunity to build a coalition than as an adversarial exchange.
For Tom, seeking unity through participation and communication is the key to progress.
green spaces have been replaced by empty and neglected buildings
will inventory all of our empty and neglected buildings, lots, and our undeveloped woodlands. With community participation, we will suggest best uses for these properties, and generate support for their improvement or preservation.
of us worry about how we will afford the rent for our apartments or our small business.
We need to
incentivize building owners to rent to “mom-and-pop” stores, keep rent affordable, and encourage continuous tenancy.
visionary and independent leadership dedicated to finding the common ground to bring together our diverse communities
Tom will be
a Borough President for everyone!
- Too many small businesses have closed down – or are teetering on the edge.
- Too many of our island’s beautiful old homes are falling into disrepair.
- Too many of us worry about how we will afford the rent for our apartments or our small business.
- Too many green spaces have been replaced by empty and neglected buildings.
- Too many of us worry about how we will afford rising utility bills.
- Too many of our children can’t afford to live in the same neighborhood where they grew up.
- We need a comprehensive master plan to address our need for quality schools, dignified and economical houses, transportation, recreation centers, parks and playgrounds, and full service, top-notch hospitals.
- We need long term planning to protect our entire shoreline from future storm surges.
- We need visionary and independent leadership dedicated to finding the common ground to bring together our diverse communities.
- Our comprehensive master plan will inventory all of our borough’s empty and neglected buildings and lots, and our undeveloped woodlands. Relying on community participation, we will suggest best uses for these properties, and seek both government and private funding for their improvement or preservation.
- Our plan will determine how traffic congestion and parking in mixed commercial / residential areas can be improved to allow for easier shopping opportunities in small businesses. In some neighborhoods, we should employ the “no placard parking” system already used in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
- Our plan will catalog all existing problems in our NYCHA buildings and propose solutions to the Housing Authority and City Hall.
- Our plan will inventory all of our island’s majestic old homes, both those that are magnificently restored and those that need repair. Our borough should be a top spot for tourists from around the world with an interest in historic homes.
- Our master plan will include everyone in the planning process: Community Boards, civic groups, and neighborhood residents.
- We need to incentivize building owners to rent to “mom-and-pop” stores, keep rent affordable, and encourage continuous tenancy.
- We need to incentivize people to recycle plastic bags the same way that paper, bottles and cans are recycled.
- We have problems, but if we rely on community participation, we can find solutions that benefit all of us. We need a Borough President who will listen to and advocate for everyone.
- Tom has been a tireless, voluntary community activist for 50 years. When we were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, Tom volunteered with the United Federation of Teachers to help people clean their homes. When the Special Olympics raised funds by holding the Polar Plunge, Tom jumped into the ice-cold water. Whenever a public park needed sprucing up, Tom was there, cleaning up debris or painting park benches.
- And Tom has been fiercely independent politically, which has sometimes led him to disagree with his own party’s leadership.
- Tom will be a Borough President for everyone.