Minority Leader James S. Oddo was first elected to represent the people of the 50th Council District in a February 1999 special election to fill the seat of his predecessor and mentor John Fusco. Before being elected to the Council, Oddo served as Chief-of-Staff for Mr. Fusco and Legal Counsel for former Minority Leader Thomas V. Ognibene. Oddo ran and won five elections in his first seven years in office.
In 2002, Oddo was unanimously selected to serve as Minority Leader by the Council's Republican delegation. He has been re-elected to that post in 2004 and 2006.
Described by the Staten Island Advance as a smart, passionate & savvy lawmaker, whose commitment on the issues is legendary, Oddo has authored important and common sense legislation. Examples include:
- Historic legislation requiring the placement of life-saving AED' s in many public places (Local Law 20/2005);
- a bill to institute the first ever registration system for one-, two, and three-family home builders (Local Law 36/2007);
- a bill to protect houses of worship from vandals (Local Law 102/2005);
- legislation to protect high school age baseball players by limiting the use of non-wood bats (Local Law 20/2007);
- legislation increasing penalties for the illegal use or possession of dangerous fireworks (Local Law 69/2005); and
- a bill honoring the sacrifices of our veterans by mandating that the city fly the POW/MIA flag over our city parks (Local Law 32/2003).
In 2006, Speaker Christine Quinn appointed Oddo to Chair the new Task Force on Operations & Improvement of the Department of Buildings. This Task Force has been involved with analyzing all aspects of DOB's operations and making suggestions for changes to benefit the people of New York and has ushered in a new era of cooperation between DOB and the City Council.
Recognizing that a quality education is one of the most important issues facing our city today, Oddo has secured millions of dollars in new initiatives for schools throughout his district, including much-needed class room space; the investment in new and exciting technology that improves the learning experience, such as new computer labs, smart boards, and wi fi technology; and new recreational places and playgrounds.
Following in the footsteps of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Oddo has made public safety a crucial aspect of his tenure in office. He has allocated more than $4 million to outfit various facilities in his district with security cameras, including the JCC Family Center; the Staten Island Railway; PS 11, 41, 54, 58, 186K, 50, and IS 2; and the South Beach and Berry Houses. He has also been a key figure in the fight for to increase police resources on Staten Island.
To improve health care, Oddo has been a leading advocate for increased access to necessary services. He has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring state-of-the-art digital mammography machines to Staten Island and more than $1 million to help construct the desperately needed expansion of the emergency room at Staten Island University Hospital.
Oddo has also helped dramatically expand recreational opportunities in his district through his funding of new facilities such as the brand new New Dorp Beach Park; the Greenbelt Recreation Center; and various athletic fields, such as a new soccer field in Ocean Breeze and at the Recreation Center.
Oddo, a native Staten Islander, received his BA from Fordham University and JD from New York Law School. The youngest of four sons, he comes from a family of proud city employees and he has never forgotten his roots. He has spent his tenure in office fighting for the oft-forgotten middle class through his advocacy against higher taxes, especially through his opposition to the historic 18.5% property tax hike in 2002.