Queens GOP awards Catsimatidis, unifies party

By Eric Jankiewicz

The Queens GOP honored John Catsimatidis last week for his work in creating a unified front for the party.

Catsimatidis, owner of the supermarket chain Gristedes, ran for mayor in 2013 as a Republican candidate. On June 22, the Queens GOP named him “Man of the Year” at a Howard Beach restaurant, Russo’s on the Bay. The party gave him the award for uniting a party that has been embroiled in internal conflict for several decades, according to the Queens GOP.

“We have begun a new era in the Queens GOP where we will have a united front to build our party, contest races with strong candidates, and fight for our values and our city,” said Bob Turner, the organization’s chairman and a former Queens congressman.

“John Catsimatidis was a vital part of moving us forward after decades of division. Queens Republicans owe him a debt of gratitude and I will always be thankful for his leadership. We were proud to present him with our ‘Man of the Year’ award for all of his efforts and support.”

The Republican Party in Queens has dealt with some serious blows over the past several years. The former chairman of the organization, Phil Ragusa, died earlier this year from leukemia amid a power struggle over leadership of the county organization between two main factions.

Hoping to put the party divisions behind the Queens GOP, Turner said, the organization awarded Catsimatidis while also looking to the future.

“I deeply appreciate this award from Chairman Turner and the Queens GOP,” Catsimatidis said. “I have always worked to bring people together and am pleased that a united Queens Republican Party can now play a vital role to build a much-needed, two-party system in our city. Together we will fight to improve public safety, build a stronger economy, and improve education for our children in our city.”

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewicz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.