By Sadef Ali Kully
In the 1990s, Rebecca Lynch, a Democratic City Council candidate for Mark Weprin’s former seat, sat around the family dinner table to discuss worries her parents and neighbors had about the state of the borough.
Lynch remembers the dinner table talks as she goes from home to home speaking to voters about their concerns and needs within the district.
“It’s interesting to hear how people perceive the government,” Lynch said in an interview with the Timesledger, referring to the 23rd Council District. “It’s a huge diverse district and it’s diverse in every sense from homeowners to tenants, from seniors to young families and all these different backgrounds.”
The district, which stretches from Douglaston through Oakland Gardens to Fresh Meadows, Queens Village and Hollis, has an Asian population of nearly 40 percent, 30 percent white, 14 percent Hispanic and 10 percent black.
“But there are some things that everyone cares about and those can be unifiers,” she said.
Lynch, 27, left her position as assistant commissioner in the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit after getting encouragement from women leaders in the City Council, state Senate and state Assembly to run. The unit works with tenants, activists and faith organizations to improve neighborhoods.
The district’s seat became vacant in June when Weprin resigned to work as deputy secretary of legislative affairs with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration in Albany.
Lynch started on her political path by cleaning up parks and then moving on to work with popular unions such as the Teamsters Union before joining the de Blasio administration. Her father was a union leader and she followed in his footsteps.
Lynch has been endorsed by Teamsters Joint Council 16, which is made up of 26 local unions; the Working Families Party; and the Progressive Caucus Alliance, which includes seven City Council members, including Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst).
“The city has done some really great things. That being said, I think it’s time for the city to focus on their pledge to focus on the outer boroughs in our communities,” Lynch said. “I find that we are not part of the conversation.”
Lynch said for the top priorities in Queens to be considered in City Hall, the District 23 City Council member must address the lack of senior services, transportation, affordable housing, pedestrian safety and road repairs.
Turning to affordable housing, she said “this is a middle-class community and we have to make sure these families don’t get priced out.”
Her main focus will be on education within the district, which includes the city’s highest performing District 26 as well as District 29.
“They are talking education, but you never hear about the trailers at Cardozo High School or overcrowding,” Lynch said. “Queens should never be dumped on. Community input should be at the forefront—there should never be anything here that has not been discussed or that we have not signed off on.”
She added, “I need our community to be brought into the conversation and services need to be brought out to eastern Queens.”
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Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull