By Bill Parry
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) thanked the crowd of Democratic Party members for their unwavering support at her pre-election event at the Knockdown Center last week. Her well-financed campaign for election to a third term has captured high-profile endorsements from labor, city leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“For over a decade, Elizabeth Crowley has fought for Queens families,” Cuomo said.
Her opponent in the Democratic Primary Tuesday disagrees with the governor. Civic leader Robert Holden, the president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, has been an outspoken critic of Crowley during her tenure representing District Council 30, which covers Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale and Ridgewood.
“I don’t really pay much attention to him. He has what he feels passionate about and I focus on what’s important to my constituents,” Crowley said in a sitdown with the TimesLedger. “And what’s important to them is improving their quality of life, making sure the community is safe, investing in education and infrastructure projects. Those are all things that I have delivered to my community during the last 8½ years and for every section of my district from Woodhaven to Woodside.”
Holden fired off an angry letters to supporters after the Crowley campaign sent out literature questioning his allegiance to the Democratic Party and questioning his values. He called her a do-nothing career politician attempting to discredit him to distract voters from her own ineffective representation and he blamed the Queens Machine for smearing him.
“The mailers came from my campaign, not the Democratic Machine,” Crowley said. “He’s much more aligned with the party of Donald Trump than with the party I identify with. His values are not aligned with our party and he shouldn’t even be running in this primary. He should be running as a conservative.”
Holden has ripped Crowley for years in the pages of the Juniper Berry, along with her cousin, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), the head of the Queens Democratic organization.
“I don’t even know what he’s talking about when he talks about the Machine,” the councilwoman said. “I’m proud to be a Democrat. I’m proud of Democratic values. He’s not. He’s not fooling me and I want to make sure that people who don’t know about him get to know how dangerous he is. How he doesn’t have any of the values that the Democratic Party stands for and I’m proud of the party. I identify with its values. It means something.”
Holden has been a registered Democrat for 44 years and a union member for 42 years.
“He’s not fooling the voters. His record speaks for himself. He took a lifetime achievement award from the Republican Party,” Crowley said. “He doesn’t believe in equal rights for women. He’s not suited for the job. He has a lot of the same characteristics as Donald Trump. If you don’t agree with him, he kicks you out whether its his civic organization or his Facebook page and that’s not the way Democrats operate. It shows he’s dysfunctional and delusional. Plus, the guy takes credit for everyone else’s work,”
She pointed to Juniper Park as an example.
“He takes credit for every project at that park and he has no influence on my allocations on projects to restore that park. He has nothing to do with my decisions,” Crowley said. “It’s not his park. I grew up in Juniper Park. He’s disingenuous when he takes credit for all the good things that have happened at that park.”
Crowley laughed off Holden’s criticism of her opting out of the city’s campaign finance system matching funds program.
“It’s our tax dollars and if I didn’t need them, then let Bob Holden take them,” she said. “I believe in the system.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr