Council Member Ruben Wills was elected in a November 2010 special election after the passing of Council Member Thomas White, Jr.
At 21, Council Member Wills became an entrepreneur and started a home contracting business which became a center of opportunity for young adults, the formerly incarcerated, and other at-risk residents of the community to acquire the job skills necessary to escape the vicious cycle of poverty and prison.
He later started two community-based organizations to aid the most vulnerable of the neighborhood. The Christian Basketball League, Inc. included 60 churches and provided a safe haven of activities for hundreds of neighborhood children. New York 4 Life is a nonprofit organization which has helped single mothers champion critical issues such as civic literacy and financial empowerment.
In 2003, Council Member Wills served as the special assistant to City Council Member Leroy Comrie where he engaged with residents about issues associated with working families and affordable housing. Later as chief of staff to State Senator Shirley Huntley, Council Member Wills worked to identify the early signs of the foreclosure crisis, fought to protect residents from predatory lending, and supported the senator’s efforts to increase community and parent participation of the New York City public school system during the fight for mayoral control.
Council Member Wills was also the lead community organizer along with SEIU Local 1199 in attempting to stave off the closure of Mary Immaculate hospital and worked with several veterans organizations in the fight to keep the St. Albans V.A. Hospital open.
Born in Southeast Queens and raised in the South Jamaica Houses, Council Member Wills is a product of the New York City public school system, graduating from Public School 40 and Thomas Edison High School. He and his wife, Marcia, are active members of St. Alban’s Congregational Church.