By Bill Parry
Seven members of the New York City Council who are running for Council Speaker, including Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Donovan Richards (D- Laurelton), have endorsed Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) in his race against Hiram Monserrate, the former City Councilman who is running to reclaim his old seat after convictions for assault and corruption.
Moya and Monserrate are vying for the District 21 seat that City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland will vacate after she decided against running for re-election in June to spend more time with her family.
“Assemblyman Moya is, without a doubt, the best candidate to serve the community,” the Council members said in a joint statement. “His track record speaks for itself, and he has demonstrated his fierce commitment to progressive values. From championing the DREAM Act to fighting for the $15 minimum wage to supporting affordable housing, Assemblyman Moya is truly dedicated to bettering the lives of the families that call this city home.”
Moya called it an honor to receive the support of so many leading progressives in the Council. In addition to Queens members Van Bramer and Donovan, Robert Cornegy, Cory Johnson, Mark Levine, Ydanis Rodriguez and Ritchie Torres all signed off on the endorsement.
“Their letter demonstrates the unity of our party when it comes to rejecting hatred, violence and corruption, including when it rises from within our own ranks,” Moya said. “Hiram Monserrate does not represent the values of our party, nor the progressive, transparent government that New York exemplifies in the era of Trump. I share these members’ belief in the voters of this district to reject my opponent in the September primary.”
The seven candidates for Council Speaker eviscerated Monserrate in their endorsement statement.
“Moreover, the candidacy of Hiram Monserrate is repugnant and he has no place in elective office,” they wrote. “His history of corruption and violence, for which he has never fully accepted responsibility, is a disgrace and disqualifier for public office. In this political climate, the Democratic Party is rightfully critical of Republicans who fail to condemn their own deceitful and bigoted politicians. We must hold that same standard to members of our own party, and oppose Monserrate’s history of misogyny and theft of community resources. We know that the voters of the 21st District will loudly reject Hiram Monserrate, but we wanted to add our voices to those that stand against this bully by pledging today to not seek or accept Monserrate’s support for Council speaker.”
Monserrate fired back at the group.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Council members, none of which can vote in my district, are kissing the tuchus of Tammany Hall aka the Queens County Machine, and are supporting Moya, the puppet of the machine,” Monserrate said. “Perhaps they all, along with the mayor, can hold Moya’s little hands and walk him into a debate against me so that the community can hear us discuss the issues that impact the 21st Council District.”
Last week, Monserrate accused Moya of avoiding open debate to hide that he is living outside the district in a Long Island City penthouse apartment. Moya refuted the charge, saying he bought the unit when he was in the private sector, rents it to a tenant and lives in a Corona home he owns with his parents.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr