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James Molinaro, is the 14th and current Borough President of Staten Island in New York City. He was born on March 11, 1931, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan of Italian immigrants. He was one of six children, four brothers and two sisters. He is a widower since 1990 when his wife of 28 years, Carol, died of complications relating to scleroderma. The couple had two sons, Peter and Steven, and lived in the neighborhood of Fort Wadsworth since 1964.
Molinaro was elected against his Democratic opponent Jerome X. O'Donovan, with 50% of the vote to 43% on November 6, 2001. He took office on January 1, 2002. Molinaro won re-election for a second and last term on November 8, 2005, with 45,979 votes (59%) to 32,617 (41%) for his Democratic challenger John Luisi.
His political career began when, in 1964, he joined the New York State Conservative Party. In 1974, he was elected as Chairman of the Richmond County Conservative Party and subsequently as Vice Chair of the State Party. In 1989, he was elected Executive Vice Chair of the New York State Conservative Party, a post he still holds today.
Prior to becoming Borough President, Mr. Molinaro served for twelve years as Deputy Borough President to former Borough President Guy V. Molinari. Mr. Molinaro also served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Guy V. Molinari, representing New York's 14th Congressional District. Molinaro has had two Deputy Borough Presidents while in office. His first was Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. who left to become the Richmond County (Staten Island) District Attorney in January 2004 after winning election to that office the previous November. The Deputy post was left vacant until November 2006. After much speculation Molinaro named Ed Burke to the Deputy position. Ed Burke had been Executive Assistant to Guy V. Molinari for twelve years and to Molinaro for nearly five.
Mr. Molinaro has a long record of community service. Over a 20 year period he has served on the Board of Directors for the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex, Staten Island Community Television, New York State Regional Organ Transplant and Bayley Seton Hospital. He was also the Chairman of the St. Elizabeth Ann's Health and Rehabilitation Center which he helped to create.
In 1989, Mr. Molinaro also helped to establish Staten Island's first AIDS day care center and AIDS medical care facility.
Currently, Mr. Molinaro serves on the board of the Heart Institute of Staten Island, a modern cardiac care facility. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Sisters of Charity Health Care Corporation. In 1991, in the memory of his late wife, Mr. Molinaro helped dedicate a local dialysis unit in her name. In 2000 St. Elizabeth Ann's Health and rehabilitation Center opened the James P. and Carol E. Molinaro Health Care and Rehabilitation Center Atrium.
Borough President Molinaro was instrumental in bringing VISY paper to Staten Island; this is the first manufacturing firm to come to New York City in 50 years creating hundreds of new jobs. Currently, VISY is planning an expansion of this project that will further create new jobs and increase employment of Staten Island. Mr. Molinaro was also involved in the recreation of a freight rail service linking Staten Island to the rest of the Nation for the first time in nearly 20 years.
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