Jerry Vattamala, civil rights attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is running for the town council of the Town of North Hempstead on Long Island, New York, from District Three.
The district covers New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Mineola and Williston Park, areas well-represented by Indians.
“I am not enrolled in a political party, but the Democratic Party has endorsed me as their candidate for District Three. My opponent is the three-term incumbent, Angelo Ferrara, a Republican,” Vattamala said.
The town is run by a six-member council and a supervisor. A councilor’s term lasts four years.
Vattamala is calling on the community to back him in the election, scheduled for November 7.
Vattamala, an adjunct professor of law at New York Law School, is the director of the Democracy Program at AALDEF, which focuses on voting rights, political participation and redistricting. He runs national Asian American exit polls and poll-monitoring programs for every major election. AALDEF is a 43-year-old organization that aims to protect the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, community education, advocacy and organizing with headquarters in Manhattan.
Vattamala started his career as a corporate lawyer at Proskauer Rose LLP, working on such high-profile cases as that involving the recovery of the World Trade Center insurance in the aftermath of 9/11, and that of JP Morgan Chase seeking compensation for losses resulting from the scandal-ridden collapse of Enron and WorldCom.
He also worked pro bono for non-profit organizations, including with AALDEF, eventually joining it as a staff attorney seven years ago to work on voting rights. He became director of the Democracy Program four years later.
He is the son of the late Mathai Vattamala and Marykutty, who came to the United States in the 1970s.
His father worked in the New York City Transit Authority for almost 35 years and operated a grocery store in Bellerose, Queens for about ten more.
In 1983, the family moved from Brooklyn to Elmont, Long Island, where Jerry attended St. Boniface Catholic School. In 1987, Jerry moved to New Hyde Park, where he still lives.
Vattamala graduated from Garden City Park Elementary School in 1992, and New Hyde Park Memorial High School in 1998. He attended Binghamton University (SUNY), graduating with a B.S. in Computer Engineering in 2002 before heading off to earn a second degree at the Hofstra University School of Law. He graduated in 2005.
He was the youth coordinator at St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Church in Long Island from 2009 through 2012 and a Sunday School teacher at the Roman Catholic Church where he attended Sunday School – Holy Spirit Catholic Church in New Hyde Park. He also provides Elder Law documents to senior community members at a substantially discounted cost.
He is married to Jinie, a pharmacist at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York. They have two daughters, Isabelle, 4, and Sarina (six weeks).
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