Jimmy Vacca is a life-long resident of the Bronx. He was born and raised in nearby Pelham Bay and educated in the New York City public school system, where he attended P.S. 71, J.H.S. 101, and then Christopher Columbus High School. Jimmy earned his bachelors degree from the State University of New York, and a Masters degree in Urban Studies from CUNY Queens College.
Jimmy Vacca became a teenage politician when he organized his fellow JHS students to rally for better bus service from the MTA. Since then he's been fighting for stop signs, traffic lights, the fixing of potholes, and other local issues that affects community. In his senior year at Columbus HS, Jimmy was elected President of the Columbus High School Student Association because of his reputation for being active in local civic issues and his leadership ability.
In 1974, the city announced plans to move the Northeast Bronx Senior Citizens' Center out of St. Benedicts Church. The senior citizens from the center were staunchly opposed to the move, and knew that they would need a strong voice to coordinate the effort to stop the city's proposal. The seniors asked Jimmy Vacca to lead their fight to keep the center at St. Benedicts, and so in 1975, at the age of 20, Jimmy became the President of the Northeast Bronx Senior Citizens' Center. He was successful in keeping it at St. Benedicts, and served for 30 years as President of the center, which is now the largest senior citizens' center in the Bronx.
In 1980, at the age of 25, Jimmy became the District Manager of Community Board #10, where he served until he took office as member of the NYC Council's 13th District in 2006. For 26 years as District Manager, he fought for one of the most diverse districts in the borough. At Community Board #10, Jimmy Vacca was constantly in the vanguard on issues facing the residents of his district. Since he started fighting against graffiti and other types of "quality of life" crimes in the 1980's, his former community board district benefited from his proactive stance by being rated both the safest and cleanest in the Bronx for many years. Over the past several years, he has been the voice of the community in its efforts against rampant over-development, and through his leadership, City Island, Throggs Neck, and Ferry Point were recently rezoned to stop the rapid growth in these neighborhoods.
Jimmy's energy has also benefited numerous other organizations in the area. In addition to serving as President of the Northeast Bronx Senior Citizens' Center, Jimmy has served on the Advisory Council to Middletown Plaza Senior Center, Vice President of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association, Secretary to the 45th Precinct Community Council, and as a member of the Knights of Columbus. After receiving his Masters Degree, he began teaching weekend and evening classes at Queens College and Monroe College on political science, public policy and sociology. In his capacity as an Adjunct Professor at CUNY Queens College, Jimmy became a member of AFT Local 2334.
On November 8, 2005, James Vacca was overwhelmingly elected to the New York City Council to represent the 13th District, which includes the communities of Throggs Neck, Country Club, City Island, Pelham Bay, Morris Park, and Pelham Parkway. Jimmy lives in Throgs Neck with his wife, Shirley, and his daughter, Elizabeth.