“Once they exceed health, safety and welfare, they’re starting to encroach on your constitutional rights,” he said.
That political philosophy influences his positions on local and national issues. In an interview on Friday, the Republican challenger to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer made his case for the upcoming general election in November to represent Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside.
A native of Jamaica, Queens, Jeffcoat spent more than two decades working his way up in the military, serving in a variety of posts. He retired from active duty as Sergeant First Class in 2004.
Today, he’s a facility manager for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Brooklyn, where he oversees staff and operations at physical plant sites.
A former member of Community Board 2, Jeffcoat also serves as the Cub Master for Cub Scout Pack 390, president of the Sunnyside GOP Club, and District Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Jeffcoat said on Friday that he’s running for City Council to fight for the “common man and woman” who goes to work everyday, pays their taxes, abides by the law and sits in their houses of worship.
“I think those are the people who have been forgotten by our government at all echelons,” he said.
He discussed a litany of issues affecting residents in western Queens, including housing and development, education and over-regulation of businesses. Noting that the skyline in Long Island City has been filled with towers in the last few years, Jeffcoat pointed to the incumbent councilman as an “integral part of that.”
“Not to cast aspersions or point fingers, and I don’t like to sling mud, but the truth is the truth,” he said. “The variances are the issue, and Jimmy’s done nothing to block them.”
The challenger said the current group of elected officials representing the area have allowed rezonings that “are a killer to affordable housing.”
“Those one-and two-family houses, they get torn down, where people can live and older people who’ve been in the neighborhood can afford them,” Jeffcoat said. “They put up luxury high rises.”
On the issue of education, Jeffcoat is an avid supporter of charter schools and vouchers. He said he believes parents should have a say in where their tax dollars go.
“If they’re not satisfied with their local school, take that $22,000 we pay a year to graduate illiterate kids and put it into a school of their choice,” he said. “That competition will spur growth, then we have people ready for the job market.”
Jeffcoat added that students should be prepared not only for college, but also in the skilled trades.
But once they begin looking for jobs, they often face stiff regulations that are “killing the job market,” Jeffcoat said.
For example, he said, VFW Post 3427 in Queensboro Hill had someone install a hot water heater in their facility. The worker, retired and doing it pro bono, was “a little out of code,” Jeffcoat said. He made a “one-inch mistake” on the pipe, and the building was slapped with Department of Buildings (DOB) violations.
“Long story short, they’re being fined out of existence because of a minor mistake,” he said.
“When you do that to a for-profit business, they just pack up their toys and leave. You go through Brooklyn and southern Queens, you see all the old factories,” Jeffcoat added. “They were over regulated, and they left. We need to bring jobs back.”
The Republican said he hopes President Donald Trump can bring the jobs back to manufacturing communities that have been torn apart by shuttered factories. He said he would even welcome an “economic war with China” if it meant bringing jobs back.
“I think upstate New York, Ohio, Indiana, Detroit and Taiwan would be good competition for China,” Jeffcoat said. “We can bring manufacturing back here.”