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April 10th, 2006

Interview with Jim McManus–a man of the people

by D. Clark MacPherson

Despite the fact that Jim McManus has powerful friends and knows most of the politicians of this and several former administrations, he is widely known as a man of the people. He does not speak with an affected manner and is blunt about a candidate’s prospects–whether he’s talking to you or the candidate. But, if you are a candidate that he likes, you know you have a stalwart friend who will not waiver once the going gets tough. Truth and fidelity are his hallmark. After nearly 50 years at the forefront of the political maelstrom, very little fazes him. If a candidate he supports does not do well in an election, he will remind you that there will be a next time and thank you for your help if you were a supporter.

McManus’s roots are deeply embedded in politics. His great uncle, Thomas J. McManus, known as The McManus, was elected in 1905 to the New York State Assembly first and then later to the New York State Senate. Another of his great-uncles, Charles McManus, was Vice-President of the Board of Alderman (predecessor to the City Council) in 1926 and served as District Leader from 1926-1929. Jim’s father, Eugene, became District Leader in 1941.

Jim McManus’s Midtown Democratic Association is the political club with which he has worked to help people in the community find jobs, affordable housing and educational opportunities. While many politicians talk about affordable housing, Jim McManus is busy sending out flyers and e-mails to people telling them about low rent apartments that are being offered in subsidized or low rent housing now. His Club also helps register voters and recruit volunteers in every major political campaign. As one of the District Leaders in the McManus Club, he brings political history, intelligence, advice, many connections, and a great deal of priceless support to those candidates that he believes in. He is joined in the Club leadership by Denise Spillane, District Leader and State Committeemen Carlos Manzano. When Jim is not giving political advice and helping his supporters, he is busy making a living at the McManus and Ahern Funeral Home (461 West 47th Street), his family business. He is a committed worker and sympathetic businessman in the community.

In dedicating his life to bringing young people into the system, Jim and his club afford them the opportunity to become part of the political process by providing training and preparation for government service. The Club also registers new voters, distributes literature and provides information on current political issues. He recalls how often local residents will stop by during election time just to ask, “Jim, who should I vote for?”?Ǭ� It is that kind of voter support and trust that widens the eyes of political candidates. And, when he’s asked, he does tell the voter what he thinks.

We asked Jim McManus who he is supporting for the Governor’s race and he said that he likes Tom Suozzi, a man whom he has known for some time and describes as a “good friend.” Suozzi is someone whom Jim feels is responsive to supporters and voters. “You know, I needed to speak to Tom and when I called him, he picked up the phone himself. No big deal, no big dance, no ‘we’ll get back to you’ nonsense–that’s the kind of politician I like, someone who will talk to you when you need to.”

For a man who has the ear of every major politician, from Bill Clinton to John Kerry and Hilary Clinton, from Rudy Giuliani to Michael Bloomberg, from Mark Green and Andrew Cuomo to Charles King–McManus is a remarkably modest man. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is simply Bob–just as former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, is Henry, or Congressman Charles Rangel is Charley. Plain talking, direct, sometimes blunt in his political assessments, Jim McManus will tell you a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses even when you didn’t want to know. Certainly more than the candidate may have wanted you to know. You get the whole truth, nothing but the truth when you talk to him. And, as a result of these “endearing” qualities, he is respected by most and feared by some. As a man of the people, though, Jim McManus talks to political leaders and public officials the way he will speak to you or me–straight. If you talk to him, just listen, and learn something.

Recently, the McManus Midtown Democratic Club moved to its new location at 321 W.44th Street. You can contact them at: (212)582-1347 or: www.McManusDemocrats.com.”

Filed Under: Articles | Interview | New York | Politics

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