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Thursday, June 21, 2018

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Pete Holmberg @PeteHolmbergNYC Candidate for New York State Senate District 28 In Manhattan Our Coverage Sponsored by Cosmopolitan Dental, Official Dentist of Whom You Know @GaroNazarianDDS #cosmopolitandental #loveyoursmile

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Pete Holmberg is the Republican Candidate running for New York State Senate to represent District 28 in Manhattan. 
Like many of the 63 Senate Districts in the State of New York, many different neighborhoods fall within the parameters: Central Park South, Gramercy Park, East Midtown, Flatiron, Kips Bay, Murray Hill, Upper East Side, and Yorkville. Pete has lived in the same apartment in Murray Hill since 1995, and due to his love of Carl Schurz Park (AKA “The Carl”) and Mansion Restaurant (AKA “The Best Restaurant in New York), Pete spends a great deal of time in Yorkville.

Born in Chicago in 1966, Pete grew up in Winnetka, Illinois knowing full well that Manhattan is the center of the universe even though Chicago has the Blackhawks, led by the phenomenal Joel Quenneville. His father, Thomas J. Holmberg, Sr., worked for the insurance brokerage firm of Marsh & McLennan and even though he was based in Chicago, Mr. Holmberg took great pride in reporting directly to the New York Office. Pete grew up in a house where the New York Times was delivered daily and New York Magazine arrived in the mail once a week. His father spent a lot of time in Manhattan and each one of his four children was given a trip here before graduating from high school. Pete first visited New York City in August of 1983, fell in love with the city, and vowed to live here eventually. 

In January of 1992, he made good on that promise when he left Chicago and moved to New York City with no friends, no job, no apartment and two thousand dollars to his name. He started as a cater-waiter and office temp, found his way into Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, worked for renowned agencies such as Anreder and Company, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, and Rx Communications, and represented such esteemed companies as Boston Private Bank, Immunogen, and St. Barth Properties. This career enabled him to author annual reports for companies such as Bally Total Fitness and A&P, guide privately held companies through the communications aspect of the Venture Capital funding and Initial Public Offering process, successfully updating the image of The New York Palace Hotel beyond the legacy of Leona Helmsley, and work in tandem with government delegations from all over the globe as a Department Head at both The Palace Hotel and The Plaza Hotel. 

Midway through his communications career, he spent five years as Director of Communications at The New York Palace Hotel, where he served as spokesman, oversaw the publicity launch of the Michelin 2-Star restaurant GILT, and introduced the beauty and grandeur of the hotel to a vast global audience through the establishment of a multi-season relationship with the hit television series Gossip Girl. The producers of the show were so grateful for his help on location that they named a recurring character "Pete Holmberg" in his honor. He then rounded out his hotelier experience with two years in operations at The Plaza Hotel before returning to Corporate Communications and eventually serving as the Managing Director of Code Morris Omnimedia. Having guided hundreds of public relations clients over the years through a wide array of pivotal events that included successful launches, public scandals and Initial Public Offerings, he knows how to be a calm, authoritative presence in the face of any challenge. 

At the age of fifty he decided he wanted a career that he could maintain well into his eighties. So he went back to school and became a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Keller Williams NYC. A career that gave him the time and flexibility to say “Yes!” when Manhattan GOP Chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis recruited him to run for New York State Senate in March of 2018. 

New York City is the great love of Pete’s life and he firmly believes that the city is under siege. Policies that look nice and sound good are undermining our working poor, shrinking our middle class, driving away the successful, and shutting doors of opportunity for every New Yorker. As a Real Estate Agent in Manhattan, Pete is confronted daily with the growing trend of high earning New Yorkers from all political parties fleeing The Empire State for low-taxing states that just happen to have Republican legislatures. It's clear to Pete that the top four choices are Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The Democrats he’s spoken to are especially fond of Austin.

The City of New York is getting served a great deal of injustice by the State of New York. And New Yorkers experience this injustice in a number of ways: when they pay taxes, when they explore school choices, when they window shop amidst vacant store fronts, and starting on January 1st, 2019 they will experience the New York State Legislature’s latest attempt to gouge them with a new Manhattan Cab Riding Tax. Every single time someone steps into a Yellow Cab that ventures anywhere below 96th Street in Manhattan, they will have to pay an additional two dollar and fifty cent surcharge. This is essentially a rich person tax levied against millions of people, most of whom -- like Pete -- aren't even close to being rich.

Every State Senator in Manhattan is a Democrat and every single one of them voted yes on the surcharge. Cab drivers have suffered greatly with the unregulated arrival of Uber and Lyft. Many NYC Cab Drivers have filed for bankruptcy and five drivers have committed suicide in the last year. This new tax will fend off short-ride customers and only hurt them more. It's cruelty, plain and simple. So Pete is running for State Senate and one of his goals is to fight this reckless new tax and get it removed from the 2020 budget. New York City needs a Senator up in Albany who knows how to listen with an open mind, speak with an open heart, and fight without fear. 

Pete Holmberg is thrilled to have the endorsement and support of the Manhattan GOP and The Metropolitan Republican Club.  We are so pleased to present Pete as our newest Mover and Shaker!  Peachy Deegan interviewed Pete Holmberg for Whom You Know, especially because he says New York City is the love of his life and his Twitter profile even says so.  She met him at Ivana Trump's event recently at The Plaza Hotel's Oak Room.

Peachy Deegan: What did the New York publications convey to you as a child?
Pete Holmberg: 
New York was where EVERYONE convened. Washington politicians, foreign dignitaries, royalty, and movie stars happily moved throughout the City as regular people.

What was on your to-do list for your first trip to New York and did everything on that list meet your expectations?
Touring the United Nations. Seeing Farrah Fawcett in Extremities. Walking the length of Central Park. Shopping on Canal Street. Visiting the Statue of Liberty. And, most importantly, riding the subway. Everything exceeded my expectations!

What was Manhattan like in 1983? Peachy’s first trip was in 1989 and in 1983 she was preoccupied with her Cabbage Patch collection.
It felt so much bigger than it does today, now that it’s familiar, and home to me. And it felt angrier to me. At seventeen I was still a child and wasn’t able to tell the difference between impatience and outright hostility. 

What should everyone know about Chicago and what do you like best about Chicago?
The Chicago Lakefront simply cannot be beat. No better place to run in the country. And the Pizza has yet to be replicated anywhere else. It must be the water from Lake Michigan in the crust.

Who is your favorite Chicago Blackhawk and why? 
I’m not a big hockey fan, so my choice of Favorite Blackhawk is going to be made for purely personal reasons. Former Blackhawk Tommy Wingels is my all-time favorite. We went to the same high school (New Trier in Winnetka, Illinois) and he has been very vocal in his support of the LGBTQ community.

Please compare and contrast your experiences at The Plaza Hotel and The Palace Hotel, two of Manhattan’s most iconic hotels.
In my five years at The New York Palace Hotel (now Lotte New York Place), I was Director of Communications, and primarily concerned with re-branding the image of the Hotel beyond the Helmsley history. I was in charge of the advertising budget, I served as liaison to the media, and I came up with the name for the restaurant that replaced Le Cirque: GILT. My biggest accomplishment was in recognizing that the hotel had the ability to serve as the location for a wealth of film and television productions. There were classic suites, modern suites, four amazing penthouse suites with spectacular roof top terraces, a grand lobby and a landmark courtyard, just to name a few of the attributes. I established relationships with the New York entertainment community that led to movies such as “Just My Luck” and “27 Dresses” being filmed there. Television shows included “30 Rock,” “Access Hollywood,” “CSI: New York,” “Joan Rivers at The Grammys,” “Law & Order” and a multi-season partnership with “Gossip Girl.”

Please tell us about the Pete Holmberg in Gossip Girl. 
I built very close relationships with the team behind Gossip Girl. Relationships that remain to this day. They were, and are, fantastic people. We spent a lot of time together and there were more than a few shoots that lasted past 4am. The idea to name a character “Pete Holmberg” came from the producers in the second season. The character of “Pete Holmberg” was the Chairman of the Board of Bass Industries and he was portrayed by a wonderful actor named Thomas Schall.

What makes a great real estate agent and what are the best firms in Manhattan and the world in both residential and commercial?
The most important skill for any real estate agent is listening. And the most important task for any real estate agent is knowing the inventory. Being on the inside at Keller Williams, and having attended my first “Family Reunion” in Anaheim earlier this year, I have zero hesitation in saying that KW is the best in Manhattan, and the world, for both residential and commercial. 

What political figures past and present do you admire most and why?
Mayor Rudy Giuliani had the biggest – and the most direct -- impact on my life of any public official. I moved here in January of 1992, and then watched with amazement as this city started getting much safer starting in 1994. 

What are the most important issues that New Yorkers should be focused on politically and why?
Tax relief is key. High-earning individuals are fleeing the state, and I don’t want to see New York become the next Illinois. Technology has lessened the hold that any state has on many of its residents. People can FaceTime their loved ones from thousands of miles away. Money can be managed from anywhere on the planet. And the Internet has made it possible to become a viable media presence without a Manhattan presence. New York needs a reality check when it comes to taxes. And since many of these high-earning individuals fleeing New York State are health care professionals looking to pay less in malpractice insurance, tort reform needs is desperately needed. 

Should Manhattan secede from New York State and New York City because of the vast differences and become its own state?
I’ve never believed that Manhattan would benefit from secession and I still don’t. I firmly believe that this is a great Borough because it is a part of great city in a great State. 

What could you do better for District 28?
In my opinion, a great State Senator FIGHTS for their District. And that means playing favorites and not apologizing for it. The new Cab Riding Tax is a perfect example of NOT doing this. East Siders of all income levels take cabs with great regularity and the money will add up. Four cab rides a week comes to $500.00 per year. 

We work with a lot of small business owners that face so many challenges today in New York and many politicians, specifically those in Manhattan whom we will not name, have been extremely detrimental to their businesses. Are you pro-business and what will you do to help them?
I’m a businessman, I’m a fiscal realist, and I am VERY pro-business. New York businesses are over-regulated and over-taxed. It’s really that simple. I’m speaking to business owners now and getting an earful about regulations that are considered to be useless and harmful. When elected I will work with my colleagues in The Senate to identify the common denominators with other districts throughout the city and state and then investigate the biggest offenders.

Which Manhattan business leaders do you admire the most and why?
At the risk of betraying Keller Williams, I have to say Barbara Corcoran. In my opinion, she has done a truly fantastic job of achieving material success while remaining a kind person. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
My brother Tom. He played a massive role in building up my self-esteem from a very young age and my self-esteem helps me to believe that I can ACHIEVE excellence. All great achievements begin with belief. I am convinced of that.

What are you proudest of and why?
I’m the first phone call for a lot of people when the shit hits the fan. Even at my worst I’ve always been extremely loyal and highly resourceful. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Drafting legislation.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
I have two “Outstanding Manager” crystal plaques from The New York Palace. One from 2005 and one from 2007. 

What one word best describes you and why?
Passionate. I’m full-on kind of person and I don’t do things halfway or with hesitation. 

What do you take your sense of identity from?
My belief in God, my trust in humanity, my gratitude for being alive, and my ability to own my past.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
Overlooking the river in Carl Schurz Park.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
Strand Bookstore.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why?
Susan Del Percio. She’s a brilliant political strategist and a truly kind person. But I can’t afford her!

What is your favorite drink?
Green Apple Perrier.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
Well, last week I was mistaken for Mayor De Blasio.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? 
That’s easy. Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
I would be a bird in New York City. I cannot imagine a bigger thrill than flying independently through the Manhattan Skyline.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
I have zero desire to have anything named after me, but if it had to be something, I would go with a sandwich at Mansion Restaurant. Something grilled and without tomatoes. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Boxing class at New York Sports Club in the mid nineties. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Walk the streets of New York. There’s no better walking city in the world.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
My Dad, Thomas J. Holmberg, Sr. He passed on in January of 2014, I miss him every day, and there are so many things I would love to share with him. 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
Seeing the Go-Go’s at Summer Stage in 2016.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
Good karma is everything. I always tip well, I accept all flyers on the street and I provide support to others who like myself are doing the work to maintain a sober life.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan?
Overrated? The traveling summer Street Fairs. 
Underrated? Summer Weekends in the City

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite​ column and what do you like about it?
Photo Gallery has the best photos, so I am going with it!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
People who have worked with me believe in me. More importantly, people who have reported directly to me believe in me and respect me. And if you want to know what someone is really like, ask someone who worked for them.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Through our campaign website:
Twitter & Instagram: @PeteHolmbergNYC 

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