New York City Council Member Ben Kallos was praised by the New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013 to represent the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and East Harlem along with all 8.4 million New Yorkers in the New York City Council. He grew up on the Upper East Side with his mother, who still lives in the neighborhood, and his grandparents, who fled anti-Semitism in Europe. As Vice-Chair of the Jewish Caucus he has been an ardent advocate for Israel and supporter of Jewish causes.
As Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee where he has sought to root out patronage, de-privatize government, eliminate billions in waste, expand elections, and to use technology to improve access to government. He has become a leading advocate for education, affordable housing, public health, sustainable development and transportation improvements and safety. His office is open and transparent, with constituents invited to decide on how to spend one million dollars on local projects in the district as well as to join him in a conversation on the First Friday of each month, or he will go to them if they can gather ten neighbors for “Ben In Your Building.”
A third generation Upper East Sider, whose grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Russia and Hungary to build a better life in New York City, Ben Kallos has been the Executive Director of a leading good government group, lawyer, entrepreneur and former Chief of Staff to a local Assembly Member. As a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo, he has used his public education for public service in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
Family and Education
Dr. Andrew Kallos, his grandfather, fled antisemitism in Europe to enlist as a Doctor in the United States Army during World War II. Upon completing his distinguished service, he practiced medicine on the Upper East Side and served patients at Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island. Dr. June Kallos, his mother, grew up on the Upper East Side to become a psychologist practicing in the area and teaching Psychology for the City University of New York.
Council Member Ben Kallos grew up on the Upper East Side, graduating from Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School, the Bronx High School of Science, where he embraced digital innovation as part of the next generation of after school jobs--the technology consulting firm. Kallos attended SUNY Albany, where he served on the student, faculty and university governments and boards. Kallos paid his own way through University at Buffalo Law School, the State University of New York’s only law school. Kallos had the opportunity to serve as a hearing officer in University at Buffalo’s Student-Wide Judiciary, a progressive judicial system with low recidivism where he had the chance to educate students who violated university rules and often local laws on making better choices. Kallos also fought to protect working class seniors who had seen their life savings and retirements lost in the law school’s Securities Clinic. Kallos became increasingly involved in public service as an Editor for the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal and interned with the Hon. Renee Forgensi Minarik in the New York State Court of Claims, a regional office of United States Senator Charles Schumer, and the New York State Attorney General’s Internet Bureau. All of these experiences instilled in him a passion for public service.
As an attorney, Kallos was licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.. While working as an attorney at Gorlick, Kravitz and Listhaus, P.C., Kallos fought for the working families in unions to secure their retirement and health benefits. While litigating these cases in Federal Court, Kallos worked with the Federal Courts Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association to improve nationwide Electronic Case Filing. Kallos went on to practice litigation at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Greenberg, Formato & Einiger, LLP.
Kallos has spent his entire political career fighting for New Yorkers. As a member of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council he rose to the position of Statewide Coordination Committee Chair, organizing and managing over 4,000 attorneys and 350 law students, to protect our ability to elect Barack Obama as President. Kallos also created the VoterSearch.org program to help protect the right to vote for over 12 million New Yorkers when he learned that some 2 millions voters had been removed from the voter roles. As a member of Community Board 8 he rose to the position of Co-Chair for the Communications Committee, implementing open source technology on CB8M.com to reduce waste and save the City thousands, publicizing the open application process and opportunities to become a public member. He also helped start the Youth and Education Committee, identified a Free Yellow Bus for youth service providers, and created a Youth and Education Internship to better serve the youth and education needs of the community. Kallos was soon asked to join the Office of Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing as Chief of Staff, where he had the opportunity to work to advance quality education, affordable housing, public health and safety, tax reform and open government and work to improve the lives of New Yorkers.
Continuing a path of public service, Kallos signed on as Executive Director of the New Roosevelt Initiative, New York State’s first government reform political committee. The group successfully helped oust disgraced Senator Pedro Espada, electing reformer Gustavo Rivera in his place. Following the victory, New Roosevelt launched the Citizens’ Committee for an Effective Constitution, a coalition of opposites, building http://EffectiveNY.org to host public discussion of the New York State Constitution and serve as a non-partisan platform for how to best reform the constitution and create effective change on issues including campaign finance reform and redistricting.
As your City Council Member, Ben Kallos is fighting for our community's issues, opening his office at 244 East 93rd Street to the public, and will always be accountable to the people of the Fifth district.