Not long after the new year’s confetti is cleaned up from Times Square, four new lawmakers representing Queens in the State Capitol and the Nation’s Capitol will begin their terms in office.
Queens’ newest Congressman is Tom Suozzi, who takes over for the outgoing Steve Israel as the Third Congressional District’s voice in the House of Representatives. Suozzi defeated Republican state Senator Jack Martins in November for the seat covering the northeast Queens communities of Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Glen Oaks, Little Neck, North Shore Towers and Whitestone, along with northern Nassau and northwestern Suffolk Counties.
Suozzi will officially take his seat in the House when the 115th Congress begins its session in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The other members of the Queens Congressional delegation are all incumbents who easily won re-election in November.
The more substantial change on the Queens political scene will take effect in the Assembly as three new members officially take office on New Year’s Day. Among them is Brian Barnwell, who stunned the political establishment in September by defeating nine-term incumbent Assemblywoman Margaret Markey in the Democratic primary. Barnwell went on to defeat Republican challenger Tony Nunziato for the right to represent the 30th Assembly District covering parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Maspeth, Middle Village and Woodside.
Another fresh face from Queens arriving in the Assembly next week is Clyde Vanel, who won in November the vacant 33rd Assembly District seat formerly held by the late Assemblywoman Barbara Clark. The district covers parts of St. Albans, Laurelton, Cambria Heights and Queens Village.
Also taking office next week is Stacey Pheffer-Amato, who succeeds Phil Goldfeder as representative of the 23rd Assembly District, which covers Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and most of the Rockaways. Pheffer-Amato is the daughter of Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who held the same Assembly seat prior to Goldfeder.
Members of the House as well as the State Legislature serve two-year terms; they’ll be up for election again in 2018.
Looking ahead, 2017 marks the elections for New York City offices, as the mayoral, public advocate, comptroller, borough president and all 51 City Council seats will be up for grabs. Party primaries for those seats are scheduled for September, with the general election to follow in November.