Southeast Queens challenger to drop lawsuit against incumbent Cook

Cook lawsuit
In addition to gathering support from dozens of southeast Queens faith-based leaders, Dr. Anthony Andrews (c.) will drop his lawsuit against Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, according to his campaign. (Photo courtesy of Andrews’ campaign)

Dr. Anthony Andrews plans to drop his lawsuit against longtime southeast Queens Assemblywoman Vivian Cook this week, according to his campaign.

The York College professor and district leader from South Jamaica had filed the lawsuit in Queens Supreme Court on Monday, April 18, alleging Cook’s campaign submitted forged signatures to secure her place on the ballot in the June 28 Democratic primary.

Cook, 84, has held her seat representing the 32nd Assembly District since 1991, and Andrews is mounting the first primary challenge against her since 2016.

“Our campaign decided a legal battle was not the best way to win an election, regardless of the merits of our case,” Andrew’s campaign election attorney Ezra Glazer said. “Dr. Andrews will win at the ballot box instead.”

A spokesperson from the Cook campaign called the lawsuit “shameful.”

“The withdrawal shows that the lawsuit brought by our opponent had no basis in facts and was purely done to malign the Assemblymember and mislead the voters once again,” the spokesperson said. “This is not the first time our opponent has employed deceitful tactics to boost his campaign. The Assemblymember has not only qualified herself on the ballot for years, she has qualified her opponent on the ballot as well as her co-District Leader.  It’s shameful that he would all of sudden level baseless allegations against Ms. Cook after she has assisted him so much throughout his life. Now that this ridiculous episode is behind us, we look forward to continuing to campaign and informing voters on Ms. Cook’s unmatched record of service for this community.”

Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (QNS/File)

Meanwhile, District Council 37 (DC 37), the city’s largest public employees union, representing nearly 150,000 members and 50,000 retirees, officially endorsed Andrews on April 24.

“Dr. Andrews is one of the hardest working and most service-minded leaders there is,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “He has been serving his community for decades in many different roles and capacities. We are proud to stand with our union brother as he hopes to continue the fight for organized labor in Albany.”

Andrews works at York College as an educator and is the director of student leadership. He announced his campaign in January to challenge Cook to represent the 32nd District which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, South Ozone Park and Springfield Gardens.

“Before I was an educator or a union delegate, I was a DC 37 member first,” Andrews said. “They were the first union I was ever a part of; it is inspiring they would be the first to stand with me. We have fought side by side for issues in the past and I look forward to continuing that fight in Albany.”

Andrews has also received the endorsements of the Working Families Party and more than two dozen southeast Queens faith-based leaders, who joined Andrews earlier this month to publicly endorse his campaign to unseat Cook.

“I am a product of our local churches. I have been attending church since before I could walk,” Andrews said. “My faith calls me to service and without the support of our faith-based leaders, none of this would be possible. We could not embark on this campaign without their guidance and support.”

More from Around New York