By Patrick Donachie
When Stacy Eliuk decided to run for president of the Queens County Young Democrats, she knew she wanted to emphasize the power Queens gains from the diversity of its residents.
“I ran on a platform of unity, of unifying our borough. I brought in young leaders from all over Queens,” she said in an interview. “We ran as this united slate of America.”
On Feb. 24 at the Anoroc Democratic Club in Sunnyside, Eliuk was elected president of the QCYD after serving for two years as the organization’s treasurer. She is the first female president in the group’s 10-year history.
Eliuk attended Queens College and earned a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University. Her interest in public service and Democratic politics increased after she worked on several campaigns in 2013.
As the newly elected QCYD president and a lifelong Queens resident, Eliuk said she wants to draw attention to what she sees as a lack of resources and attention paid to the borough.
“We are the second largest borough in terms of population and the first in geography,” she said. “And we don’t always see our fair share.”
Eliuk, who works as a program manager at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Manhattan, said that her election as QCYD’s first female president emphasized the group’s strengths.
“It’s not a departure from the underlying goals of the organization,” she said. “I think it adds to the perception that when you see a young woman leader, it will encourage people to become more active.”
Eliuk and the QCYD also have organized an upcoming event to highlight the stories of several female elected officials. “Who Run the World?: Women Winning in Queens” will be held March 24 at the Rego Center Community Room in Rego Park, where several female lawmakers will discuss why they decided to run for office and the challenges they encountered along the way. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) are among the elected officials attending the event.
Eliuk said the evening could illustrate the steps that still need to be taken toward equal representation in a city where only 14 of the 51 City Council members are women.
The QCYD is also turning its attention to state Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky’s bid to fill the state Senate seat in Nassau left vacant by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, who was convicted of corruption charges in December. Eliuk hopes a win in the race for Kaminsky can help Democrats regain control of the state Senate.
As for her own career in public service, Eliuk said that she might consider running for office in the future.
“What I thought of as a possibility five years ago is slim in comparison to what I see now,” she said. “I’m keeping an open mind, because one’s own sense of potential grows as one does more with one’s life. The more I do, the more possible something like that could look.”