Retired sanitation worker officially launches campaign against state Senator Michael Gianaris

Iggy Terranova officially launched his campaign for State Senate on Thursday, Feb. 6, in Astoria. (Jacob Kaye/QNS)

A 20-year veteran of the city’s sanitation department kicked off his bid to unseat Michael Gianaris in the state Senate last week in Astoria.  

On Thursday, Feb. 6, Ignazio ‘Iggy’ Terranova, a former citywide community affairs officer for the New York City Sanitation Department, hosted friends, family and supporters at Sweet Spot Sporting Lounge and Restaurant in Astoria to officially launch his campaign to take on Senator Gianaris in the Democratic primary for Senate District 12. 

“Our current representation doesn’t care about us,” Terranova told QNS. “They’re doing everything they can to hurt us. They’ve lost jobs. They’re letting out criminals. They don’t care about the common, working man and I’m tired of that. I’m a working man, running for the working man.”

Terranova’s run stems from his belief that Gianaris, a nine-year incumbent, has neglected the needs of the district and ignored his constituents’ voices in recent years. Terranova and his supporters see evidence of this neglect in Gianaris’ fight against the deal to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Long Island City, and in the senator’s support of bail reform.

“Gianaris was the one that caused the Amazon deal to break apart and he’s the one that authored the bail reform to allow criminals to get out of jail,” Terranova, 45, said. “He doesn’t stand up for us anymore and nobody is immune to losing in a campaign.”

Terranova was a registered Republican until 2016, when he began to feel that the party’s ideals no longer aligned with his own. He is currently a registered Democrat. 

“I successfully fought Republicans and their agenda over the last several years and I look forward to doing it again this campaign,” Gianaris said. “I am confident my record protecting our neighborhoods from further displacement and fighting for better subways and delivering justice for tens of thousands of New Yorkers will be recognized by the voters.”

Despite having voted for the longtime representative of northwest Queens and parts of Ridgewood, Maspeth and Woodhaven in the past, many of Terranova’s supporters feel Gianaris, the deputy majority leader in the Senate, has abandoned them.  

“I was heartbroken when I saw Amazon,” said George Delis, the former Community Board 1 manager and current Terranova supporter. “What a shot in the arm for that whole area there.”

Delis said that Gianaris’ politics have changed in response to the progressive movement in Queens and across the country, a sentiment echoed by others at the campaign launch. 

“Gianaris is extreme left,” Delis said. “The people he raised money from, the Greek community, is basically conservative. And he’s turned on them because he’s catering to that left vote. He’s lost his base. The Greek community will not support him again.”

Ted Kouris, a real estate broker from Astoria, agreed. 

“I’m totally against Senator Gianaris’ views, especially the way the Amazon deal was done,” Kouris said. “And especially the way his ideology is to the far left. I never knew that New York all of a sudden was far left.”

Beyond Amazon and the progressive movement, Terranova is running on a platform centered around supporting small businesses, protecting labor unions, and building and preserving affordable housing, he says.

But still, Terranova appears to be having a hard time putting his years as a sanitation worker behind him. 

“We’ll take out the trash, I promise you that,” Terranova said at the end of a speech he gave at his campaign launch. “I’m good at taking out the trash.”