Queens’ first female state senator, Toby Stavisky, is going for her ninth term in office

Photo courtesy of state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky

After 16 years in Albany, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky wants to go back for another term.

Stavisky officially announced last week her re-election campaign in Forest Hills, surrounded by numerous supporters including Congresswoman Grace Meng and a number of community advocates.

Stavisky was first elected to the state Senate in a special November 1999 election for the seat previously held by her late husband, Leonard. In doing so, she became the first Queens woman ever to serve in the chamber.

Since then, Toby Stavisky has been re-elected eight times, earning a reputation as a staunch advocate on issues such as education, human rights, women’s rights, immigration and — most recently — ethics reform in a state capitol haunted by numerous public corruption cases.

“We have accomplished a lot, but we still have a long way to go,” Stavisky said at the April 26 announcement. “Comprehensive ethics reform is long overdue, the DREAM Act remains in limbo and the American Dream remains out of reach for too many. I stand here today, ready to continue representing the people of this district, but I cannot do it alone. We are a team and together, we can make this city and state an even better place to live.”

Meng was quick to throw her support for Stavisky, recalling her work to create the new Lunar New Year school holiday among “so many other issues that have improved the lives of Queens residents.”

“She must be returned to Albany in order for her to continue the great work she has done,” Meng said.

Also announcing their support of Stavisky were Flushing Chinese Business Association Executive Director Peter Tu; Democratic District Leader Martha Flores Vazquez; Mitchell-Linden Civic Association President Arlene Fleischman; and community activists Paul Yoo, Jeff Huang, Tammy Osherov, Joe Nocerino and Ik Hwan Rim.

They represent the bevy of communities within the 16th Senate District that Stavisky currently represents. The heavily gerrymandered district created for the 2012 election is carved out of neighborhoods in north and central Queens, including parts of Bayside, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Middle Village, Rego Park and Woodside.

A map of the 16th state Senate District (photo via Google Maps)

Stavisky will be facing a challenge in the September Democratic primary from Flushing businessman S.J. Jung, whom she defeated in the 2014 Democratic primary. As of yet, no Republicans are known to have declared a candidacy for the 16th District seat. The petitioning process to get on the ballot starts in June.

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