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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

Democratic voters in nine Queens City Council districts should head to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 12, for primary elections that, in many cases, will decide who will be each district’s voice in City Hall beginning next year.

Incumbents are seeking re-nomination in two-thirds of the borough’s competitive City Council district primary races. Voters in two other districts are looking to fill vacancies created by outgoing (or, in one case, expelled) lawmakers.

The Democratic primary is open only to registered Democratic voters, and the winners will advance to the November general election to face Republican and/or third-party opponents. The primary also includes the mayoral and public advocate contests in which the incumbents — Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Letitia James — are expected to easily win.

De Blasio is facing four challengers: former City Councilman Sal Albanese of Brooklyn, tech entrepreneur Michael Tolkin, attorney Richard Bashner and director of the Police Reform Organizing Project Robert Gangi. James, meanwhile, is squaring off against history professor David Eisenbach.

Here’s a rundown on who’s on the primary ballot in Queens, with most information about each candidate from the Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Guide:

19th District (Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone)

City Councilman Paul Vallone is seeking a second term in the City Council, but he’s getting a challenge from local urban planner Paul Graziano. Vallone stated that he’ll devote his second term to ensuring greater funding for local schools, nonprofit organizations and civic groups, while also looking to preserve the area’s quality of life and boosting senior services. Graziano indicated that he’ll lead an effort to tackle overdevelopment across the district that he says has diminished the area’s quality of life; he also pledged to fight for better education services and the preservation and improvement of parks and public land.

Vallone-Graziano

City Councilman Paul Vallone (left) and Paul Graziano

*  *  *

20th District (Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill)

Looking for his third and final term in the City Council, Peter Koo is squaring off against local activist Alison Tan. If re-elected, Koo pledged to continue his efforts to bring infrastructure and other improvements to the district while working to improve local schools and increase crime-fighting efforts. Tan, who did not submit a profile to the CFB Voter Guide, told The Queens Courier in an interview that she would seek improvements to the Downtown Flushing area as well as proper development in the area.

City Councilman Peter Koo (left) and Alison Tan

City Councilman Peter Koo (left) and Alison Tan

*  *  *

21st District (East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona in Queens, including Flushing Meadows Corona Park, LeFrak City and LaGuardia Airport)

With incumbent City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland not seeking re-election, the campaign to replace her comes down to two well-known politicians in the district: Assemblyman Francisco Moya and former State Senator Hiram Monserrate. Moya said he would work to build on Ferraras-Copeland’s legacy and fight to reduce the cost of living, while also expanding school programs and standing up to the Trump administration. Monserrate, who was previously jailed for public corruption and expelled from office after being convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, pledged to use his previous positive experience in government to support local organizations, create affordable housing and put for a new development plan for the Willets Point area.

Assemblyman Francisco Moya (left) and former State Senator Hiram Monserrate

Assemblyman Francisco Moya (left) and former State Senator Hiram Monserrate

*  *  *

23rd District (Bayside, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, Queens Village)

Elected in 2015 to fill out the remainder of former City Councilman Mark Weprin’s term in office, City Councilman Barry Grodenchik is seeking his first full four-year term of his own against engineer Benny A. Itterra. Grodenchik touted his three decades in government and pledged, if re-elected, to improve schools, keep the street safe and fight to lower property taxes. Itterra did not submit a profile to the CFB Voter Guide; in a full-page ad in The Queens Courier, he stated that he would work to end public corruption, lower taxes and make infrastructure investments.

City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (left) and Benny Itterra

City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (left) and Benny Itterra

*  *  *

24th District (Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica)

City Councilman Rory Lancman is seeking a second term at City Hall and is facing a challenge from Mohammad Rahman, a case manager for the city Department of Social Services. Lancman pledged to build on his efforts to expand universal pre-K throughout the district, bolster public safety and reduce small business fines. Rahman stated that he’s not a “career politician” and said he would work to secure a fair share of public funding and services while also fighting for immigration rights and public safety improvements.

City Councilman Rory Lancman (left) and Mohammad Rahman

City Councilman Rory Lancman (left) and Mohammad Rahman

*  *  *

27th District (Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, and Springfield Gardens)

Also seeking a second term at City Hall is Councilman I. Daneek Miller, but he is getting a challenge from Anthony Rivers, a former NYPD lieutenant. Miller touted his record over the last four years to bring an affordable transit fare program (the Freedom Ticket) for southeast Queens residents as well as advocating for increased affordable housing, worker protections and stable property tax rates. Rivers says that the city needs to do more to make housing more affordable in the region, and pledged to bring champion increased, high-quality programs and services for senior citizens and children.

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (left) and Anthony Rivers

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (left) and Anthony Rivers

*  *  *

28th District (Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale, South Ozone Park)

Three candidates have emerged in the race to succeed former City Councilman Ruben Wills, who was expelled from office in July after being convicted of public corruption charges.

Community Board 12 Chairperson Adrienne Adams, selected by the Queens County Democratic Party to fill the ballot slot that Wills forfeited, pledged to oppose the continued placement of homeless shelters in the district, while also fighting illegal dumping, illegal truck parking and other quality of life problems. Richard David, who’s chief of staff at the Administration for Children’s Services, said he would give the district a fresh start at City Hall, and would fight to bring in new youth and senior centers, more affordable housing and greater educational opportunities. Attorney Hettie Powell said she would work to improve public education, create partnerships to boost economic development for all and seek greater funding for increased city services.

From left to right: Adrienne Adams, Richard David and Hettie Powell

From left to right: Adrienne Adams, Richard David and Hettie Powell

*  *  *

30th District (Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside)

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is facing Juniper Park Civic Association President Robert Holden in what’s perhaps the most vitriolic primary campaign in the borough this year. Looking for her third term in office, Crowley said she would continue her efforts to improve public transportation, boost public schools and keep the communities of the district safe. Holden, meanwhile, indicated that he would fight forces that are looking to profit from the people, and pledged to increase crime-fighting efforts, stop the placement of homeless shelters in communities and fight overdevelopment and traffic problems.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Robert Holden

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Robert Holden

*  *  *

32nd District (Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven)

A trio of candidates are fighting for the right to square off against incumbent Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich in the November general election.

Helal Sheikh, a public school teacher, stated that he’ll work to champion a clean environment while also fighting for additional resources to keep the community safe, improve public schools and create jobs. Mike Scala, former legislative director in the State Senate, pledged to increase public transportation options, investigate the “Build it Back” program to rebuild homes damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and bring into the district innovative public school programs. Housing advocate William Ruiz has made constructing affordable housing his top priority if elected, and he also pledged to expand after-school programs and bring modern technology into the NYPD to help fight crime.

From left to right: Helal Sheikh, Mike Scala and William Ruiz

From left to right: Helal Sheikh, Mike Scala and William Ruiz

*  *  *

Know when you vote

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.; if you’re on line to vote just before the polls close, you will be able to cast a vote.

Polling sites may have changed in the last year; the city Board of Elections mailed notices to registered voters weeks ago. If you’re unsure of where to vote, click here to search the NYC Poll Site Locator by your home address, or call 212-VOTE-NYC for more information.

If you are a registered Democrat but your name is not on the voting roll for unknown reasons, you have the right to ask for an affidavit ballot to cast your vote. See a poll worker for further assistance.

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