By Jeremy Walsh
After a history of civic involvement that took him to Washington and Albany, Corona native Francisco Moya is once again chasing elected office close to home.
Moya, 34, was neckâˆ’andâˆ’neck with Monserrate’s chosen successor, former chief of staff Julissa Ferreras, with $50,289 raised as of Friday. Ferreras had raised $51,847 for the same period, according to the city Campaign Finance Board’s Web site.
Moya was born in Corona to Ecuadorian parents. He grew up a few blocks away from his current campaign office in a former city marshal’s office on 104th Street.
“Back then it was a relatively safe neighborhood,” he said.
But in 1990, when he was 15, his cousin was mugged in front of her home coming back from work. The crime spurred Moya to organize a block association.
“It was about seven people at the time. We were meeting out of the basement in my parents’ house,” he said.
But a grant from thenâˆ’Councilwoman Helen Marshall enabled Moya to establish the Corona Gardens Neighborhood Association, which now performs biannual neighborhood cleanups and helps other groups with graffiti removal projects.
It was through his civic association that he met U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (Dâˆ’Ridgewood), who attended the group’s candidates night as a congressional hopeful in 1992.
“She was the only one who came out,” he said.
Five years later, Moya joined Velazquez’s staff in Washington, D.C. He spent three years there working for Velazquez and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (Dâˆ’California) before joining the staff at Elmhurst Hospital as a business outreach director in 2000.
Moya is proud of his work establishing satellite clinics to bring preventive care to neighborhoods surrounding the hospital, citing high rates of tuberculosis and HIV among residents.
“Because it’s a heavily diverse immigrant population, lots of people were coming into the emergency room for medical care,” he said. “A lot of them were already terminal.”
Moya prided himself on helping to open the first women’s clinic in Corona on Junction Boulevard and establishing a program to put nurse practitioners in the neighborhood’s public schools.
“She can prescribe medication, give full treatment just like a doctor,” he said. “And it’s not just open to a child, it’s open to the entire family.”
Moya made his first foray into politics in 2002, when he ran for the 39th Assembly District, losing in the primaries to another Latino newcomer, Jose Peralta.
In 2003, he joined thenâˆ’state Sen. David Paterson in Albany, serving as the secretary to the Senate for the minority leader and helping to push forward legislation that made publicly available how the Senate allocated its member items to nonprofit groups.
If elected, Moya has said he will pursue an agenda, including making sure local businesses have the chance to bid on major projects like the Willets Point redevelopment, downzoning the neighborhood to prevent the proliferation of multipleâˆ’story apartment buildings and increasing funding for health care.
He did not specify how he would deal with the reductions in funding citywide associated with the economic downturn, but referred to his past work getting state and federal funding for hospital projects.
“We have to have people who understand how to fight for every penny,” he said. “Right now, nobody is being a vocal advocate.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by eâˆ’mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 154.