By Bill Parry
One of the borough’s foremost street safety advocates decided over the weekend to join state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) and former state Sen. Hiram Monserate for the seat held by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst), who won’t seek re-election for a third term.
Jackson Heights resident Cristina Furlong, the co-founder of Make Queens Safer, will file the paperwork and start on petitions this week for the Democratic primary,
“After the presidential election in November showed how quickly a change of leadership could change our quality of life in the neighborhoods of the 21st District, suddenly everyone had to identify a certain way and the world suddenly got a lot angrier,” Furlong said. “District 21 is unique, even to New York City. We need smart growth of our small economies and honest and independent oversight of the major projects like Willets Point, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and LaGuardia Airport.”
Ferreras-Copeland told Politico in an article published Friday that she has chosen her family over a third term. Her husband Aaron Copeland is an aerospace engineer living in Maryland, forcing Ferreras-Copeland and her 3-year-old son to split time between the two states.
“I was floored to hear that the City Council would be down to only seven women out of 51 seats,” Furlong said. “I truly love every inch of Queens and want to continue a legacy of strong leadership like Julissa and Helen Marshall brought to the district with a similar combination of concern and competency.”
Furlong and fellow Jackson Heights resident Dr. Laura Newman formed Make Queens Safer in 2013 after three children were killed in the neighborhood by reckless drivers in less than 10 months. The organization works with schools and community groups to provide more street safety education while pushing for street redesigns to protect pedestrians an cyclists.
Furlong is well aware of the other pressing issues in the district.
“As a mother and parent on a working-class income, I want to be able to support families in similar circumstances,” she said. “I have a child in his zoned public school and that has shed a whole new light on broad issues from immigration, school segregation, overcrowding and zoning, Though I’ve worked hard, I have to be in the City Council to truly make the changes that future generations are entitled to.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr