The first thing about Robert Cornegy that immediately jumps out at you is his height. At 6’ 10” Cornegy was a college basketball player at St. John’s University and the University of Alabama and enjoyed a long professional career playing overseas. However, despite the successful pursuit of his hoop dreams, Cornegy always had a passion for public service, which was instilled in him by his parents, whom he describes as “longtime community advocates and public servants.” Before running for the City Council this year, Cornegy made the rounds through his district, serving in a variety of different civic capacities.

“I’ve been on the community board, president of my Democratic club, on the community advisory board to Interfaith Hospital; I’ve actually served as a chief of staff for an Assembly member and [run] Senate campaigns,” Cornegy said. “So in some regard it’s a natural transition [to being a councilman], but for me I just really wanted to serve publicly, and when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.”

One of Cornegy’s primary goals during his first term is to focus on small businesses and entrepreneurship to help create jobs for his district. He points to the burgeoning tourism and hospitality economy in central Brooklyn, which he hopes to capitalize on by bringing various stakeholders to the table in an effort to help reduce the sizable 50 percent unemployment numbers for African-American males in his community. He has already started toward that goal by working with the College of New Rochelle’s School of New Resources in his district to set up a certificate or continuing education program that will help his constituents increase their earning potential.

“I should be able to, percentagewise, get [unemployment numbers] down in my first year, to 40 percent,” Cornegy said. “If I can bring it down 10 percentage points in the next few years, then it becomes a little more respectable, and we have a trajectory and a template to do that.”

District: 36
Neighborhoods represented: Bedford- Stuyvesant and Crown Heights
Policy focus: Economic development, senior issues
Date of birth: Sept. 24, 1965
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: St. John’s University, University of Alabama; Master’s in organizational management
Previous Occupation: District leader, 56th Assembly District
Family: Wife: Michelle; six children
Party: Democrat