By TimesLedger Staff
The 2018 primary election is here Tuesday and there are three races in Queens to keep an eye on.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) faces challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the contest to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District, which covers large sections of western Queens and the Bronx.
Crowley, 56, holds the fourth-highest ranking position in the House Democratic leadership. Ocasio-Cortez, 28, is an insurgent progressive from the Bronx who organized for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) during his failed bid for the presidency in 2016. Crowley facing an opponent in a primary for the first time in 14 years.
Ocasio-Cortez criticized Crowley for leading the Queens County Democratic Party while holding elected office, an attack which the incumbent dismissed. Crowley said he had helped many candidates of color get elected, ensuring that the diverse district’s leaders represent their constituencies during his time as head of the Queens Democrats.
Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez said she is the only candidate in the race who supports “improved and expanded Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college and the abolition of ICE.”
Crowley has been a voice for immigrant rights and spoken out repeatedly against gun violence in schools.
Suraj Patel, an attorney and professor, is looking to unseat U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), who has served as a congresswomen for 25 years.
Maloney is running on her record of bringing $10 billion in federal funds to her district, spanning the East Side of Manhattan, western Queens and parts of Brooklyn, that went toward the construction of the 2nd Avenue subway and the Kosciuszko Bridge linking Long Island City to Greenpoint. She is working to help pass a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals measure in the House and is also involved in putting together a hearing about the separation of children from families while crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Maloney is a strong voice for women’s issues in the House.
Patel said he hopes to protect immigrants from the policies of the Trump administration and uplift the science community to take on climate change. He wants to set a different tone for scientific knowledge than his opponent, who for some time questioned whether or not vaccines could cause autism, which he believes lent credence to the same kind of science denial which has led some of the public to disregard climate change science.
Patel is also tackling issues of more localized interest in the district, such as problems experienced by those in NYCHA’s Queensbridge housing project involving mold and lead. About 2,500 of Patel’s 6,000 petition signature were collected from Queensbridge Houses.
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) has two opponents in the race to represent the New York’s 5th Congressional District, which comprises parts of both of southeast Queens and Nassau County. Technologist Mizan Choudhury and Carl Achille, a detective and Iraqi war veteran, are trying to upset Meeks in the primary.
Meeks, a 20-year incumbent in his district, wants to save protections that were provided in the Affordable Care Act, which prohibited insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, assured maternity and newborn care and guarded policy holders from being dropped by their providers when they were sick.
Choudhury is a Bengali immigrant who came to the United States in 1997. He works as a technology manager for Northwell Health, a collection of health-care facilities, is a community activist who lives in Bellerose, one of the neighborhoods a few miles outside of the district and is a business owner. He wants to legalize Dreamers, undocumented young people brought to this country illegally as children.
Achille is the son of Haitian immigrants and lives in Elmont. He also believes Meeks is detached from his constituents and the main problems facing the district are the lack of quality jobs and affordable housing. Achille contends that redeveloping the Hempstead Avenue corridor from Jamaica Avenue in Queens to Franklin Square in Nassau County is necessary to for the area’s economy.
There have been some changes to polling sites in recent weeks. To see where you can vote, visit nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search.
We will be visiting the polls and providing updates throughout the day.