Michael Zumbluskas has been a leader in the independent political movement in New York and nationwide for the past 25 years.
He is committed to “practical government that works for all” and reforming the electoral system. Mike has led voter registration and party enrollment drives and worked as a campaign advisor for many Independent, Republican and Democratic candidates.
Mike has appeared on many TV programs as a panelist on electoral reform and grassroots activism. He currently works as a resource management analyst for the New York City Department of Transportation.
Mike was born to John and Ann Marie Zumbluskus on Mitchell Air Force Base in Hempstead, NY. His father was a career United States Air Force (USAF) non-commissioned officer. He grew up as a USAF “brat” in the 1970s, moving every few years. It made Mike a well-rounded and understanding man.
Mike learned a valuable lesson when he was 10. He asked his father for money to go with friends to an amusement park. His father, managing to raise a family of four children on a humble government salary, replied, “Do you have the money?” When Mike said no, his father told him that was the answer! Mike got the message and began to earn money by shoveling sidewalks, cutting lawns, doing paper routes, and doing odd end jobs.
There were downsides to having a parent who wore a military uniform. When he was 12 he was proudly walking with his father, who just returned from Vietnam, when a protester spit at his dad while calling him a baby killer. Toughness, compassion and patience defined Mike’s upbringing.
Mike attended 10 different schools around the world. He began kindergarten on the island of Okinawa, Japan, and graduated from high school in Aviano, Italy.
Attending school in Denver, Colorado, brought eye-opening cultural shock from the socioeconomic disparity between his military friends and his classmates. He keenly sensed disparity between his humble-but-strong military family upbringing and the poor and undisciplined students around him, developing humility and a compassionate empathy for those coming from difficult circumstances and poverty.
He was a tenacious athlete. He tried out for football but was cut due to his small stature. When he asked the coach if he could practice with the team, the coach agreed. Mike practiced harder than ever. Impressed with Mike’s passion following an injury to the running back and seeing Mike’s efforts, the coach made him a member of the team. Determination and passion define Mike’s character.
Mike’s asthma prevented him from following in his father’s footsteps in the Air Force. Instead, he became the first in his family to go to college. He moved in with his grandmother in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Even though he was given student loans and awarded grants, Mike still had to work full time in multiple jobs – mostly minimum-wage dishwashing jobs – to make ends meet. He earned his B.A. in history in 1983 at the University of Scranton.
Post-college, Mike moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming where his father was stationed. The economy was at a low point, his student loans were coming due, and he was turned down for another job. He joined the Army a few weeks later and was sent from Denver to basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
His upbringing in the military gave him the ability to remain calm. In a night airplane trip in Kentucky, Mike was noted for the way he calmed down nervous colleagues during the difficult airplane ride. Since the beginning of his time in the military, whenever someone had a problem, they usually came to Mike first.
Mike served as a petroleum supply specialist in the Army from 1984 to 1987 in Nuremberg, Germany and Fort Bliss, Texas. He served in the Second and Third Cavalry units, charged with transporting and refueling tanks and helicopters.
Mike has worked multiple jobs in various industries. He’s been a bank teller, customer service representative, accountant, executive assistant, and currently is a resource management analyst for the NYC Dept. of Transportation. He’s worked in large and small companies, the nonprofit industry, government and even as part owner of a startup wrestling company.
Mike’s first permanent job in New York City was at Scudder Stevens and Clark, a mutual fund company. He was hired as a temp to do one specific task. Mike completed the task well before lunch, so he went to his boss and asked for more work. After a month and a half, he had taken so many items from the different accountants that he created his own job. He worked there for almost eight years.
Mike began his political career in 1992 as a volunteer coordinator on H. Ross Perot’s presidential campaign, and thereafter served on the state board of
“United We Stand America.”
In 1995, Mike joined the Independence Party of New York (IPNY), serving as the vice-chair of its Manhattan chapter from 1998 to 2000. The Independence Party partook in forming the Reform Party of the U.S.A (RPUSA) in Kansas City in 1997; Mike was one of its delegates.
In 1999, he ran for the Reform Party vice-chairmanship to prevent the notorious anti-Semite Lenora Fulani from gaining the position. While he failed to win, he succeeded in blocking Fulani and attracted the attention of The New York Times, which named him as one of the RPUSA movement’s “more serious strategists.” In 2005, Mike was elected to the IPNY’s state executive committee.
In 2008 Mike was elected to the Reform Party National Committee, serving as chairman of the party’s 2008 national convention where the RPUSA nominated Sen. John McCain as their presidential candidate. The national committee elected Mike chairman of the Reform Party’s legal committee, which he headed from 2008 to 2010. He remains active on the national level.
Mike has been a consultant on many campaigns from local city council races to presidential campaigns. He has worked on campaigns in all five boroughs of New York City and even helped candidates in other states. Mike has held the positions of, treasurer, petition coordinator, volunteer coordinator and campaign manager. One of his biggest accomplishments was running George McDonald’s successful petition drive in 2013.
Mike served as the New York County Chairman of the Independence Party, on the Independence Party State Executive Committee and worked tirelessly as its chief organizer and chairman of the candidate screening committee for all of New York City.
Today, he assists Republican, Democrat and Libertarian candidates with policy, campaigns and voter outreach.
Mike’s main priority is to bring sanity and practicality to Albany, especially in this time of crisis.