A former sanitation worker became the second resident of western Queens to file papers in order to challenge state Senator Michael Gianaris in next year’s Democratic primary.
Ignazio “Iggy” Terranova of Astoria, who retired from DSNY after a 20-year career last year, found Gianaris’ opposition to Amazon’s plans to build its HQ2 campus in Long Island City, creating tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade, as disqualifying.
“I dedicated my life to helping the city and helping New Yorkers,” Terranova said. “This guy hurt us, he really truly hurt us. It’s a joke that you would throw away 25,000 jobs, plus 10,000 union construction jobs to build it, plus all of the other jobs it would have also created at restaurants and stores. All of that thrown away for what? To show he’s progressive?”
The 45-year-old, born in Ribera, Italy, before coming to the U.S. a a 1-year-old, began his career as a garbage collector and worked his way up to become the lead uniformed liaison to the public and Supervisor of the DSNY’s Community Affair Unit, an ambassador to the public and elected officials throughout the city. Terranova believes that experience prepared him to serve in public office.
“I was the one guy that every politician turned to to fix an issue and make them look good,” Terranova said. “Be it snow removal, enforcement issues, all sanitation issues, I was the one that fixed it. Now that I’m retired I look around and all I see is this city heading in the wrong direction. I’ve known the senator for nearly 15 years and I really thought he was a good guy, but after what happened with Amazon, obviously he was not.”
It was just last June when Gianaris honored Terranova on his retirement speaking from the Senate floor.
“New York City is full of distinguished characters that leave an impression, and Iggy Terranova is certainly one of them,” Gianaris said. “I’ve been impressed by not only his skill and ability, but his outsized personality as well. He lives in Astoria, in my district, and I’m proud of that.”
The Senate’s deputy majority leader doesn’t seem concerned with the challenge.
“Anyone is entitled to run for office, but not just anyone has been part of a movement that delivered a historic Democratic Senate Majority resulting in the most progressive legislature New York has ever seen,” Gianaris said.
Meanwhile, Terranova and Gianaris crossed paths on Sunday morning.
“We both attended the United Community Civic Association brunch and I could tell he knew I was running,” Terranova said. “I would imagine he’s shocked and I think I will be an annoyance to him.”
Long Island City’s Justin Potter, who created the “Defeat Gianaris” website blaming him for Amazon’s breakup with the borough, launched his own campaign to unseat the Senator last April.
“I am thrilled Iggy Terranova is entering the race. He has deep roots in the district and just finished a long career as a highly regarded public servant handling community outreach,” Potter said. “The fact that Iggy is entering the race is further evidence of the deep dissatisfaction in the district with Senator Gianaris. Iggy and I will surely have different approaches and perspectives, but we are united in the objective of defeating Senator Gianaris in the 2020 Democratic primary.”