Newly elected progressives in western Queens reflect on support of successful campaigns

progressives elected in Queens
Juan Ardila (l.) and Kristen Gonzalez (QNS file photos)

Election day for state lawmakers in western Queens was largely procedural as all of the incumbents went unopposed in their re-election campaigns. Also unchallenged by Republican candidates were two progressives who survived their primary contests in August.

Maspeth’s Juan Ardila will succeed longtime Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan when she retires at the end of next month and represent District 37, while Long Island City’s Kristen Gonzalez will head to Albany to represent the newly drawn Senate District 59.

Ardila was backed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz in the Democratic primary in June and he defeated Brent O’Leary, Johanna Carmona and Jim Magee.

Juan Ardila enjoyed the support of the Working Families Party in his campaign to succeed longtime Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan. (QNS file photo)

“From the very first day I launched my campaign for state Assembly, I made the commitment to keep our message rooted in the principles of inclusion & coalition building in order to advance the movement for climate justice, housing as a human right, expanded abortion rights, immigrant justice, LGBTQ protections and non-carceral paths to public safety,” Ardila said. “My campaign, in particular, could not have achieved our wins without the day one support of the Working Families Party.”

Ardila spent election night at the WFP watch party at the Starr Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where he reflected on the impact the WFP had in a statewide, coordinated final push to prevent Congressman Lee Zeldin and his Republican running mates from securing wins in the top-of-the-ballot races.

“Our campaign was part of a much greater movement in this state, and in the end, that vision for New York attracted support from every corner of the Democratic spectrum,” Ardila said. “It was that kind of big-tent organizing that helped my supporters deliver not only a win for my district but a victory for the entire state of New York by electing Kathy Hochul and Antonio Delgado to be our next governor and lieutenant governor.”

AOC also endorsed Gonzalez in her primary battle against former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, but Gonzalez also enjoyed the support of the Democratic Socialists of America, which has become a force in recent election cycles in western Queens.

“All you have to do is look to the People’s Republic of Astoria, where we have a Democratic Socialist at every level of government to know it’s true,” Gonzalez said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this campaign, it’s that change is possible when you organize over many years.”

Kristen Gonzalez is the latest Democratic Socialists of America-backed candidate to win office in western Queens. (QNS file photo)

Gonzalez becomes the 12th Democratic Socialist in New York and she joins Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán and Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and AOC as DSA-backed office holders representing Astoria.

“I’m incredibly honored to be the first Senator-elect for the new State Senate District 59,” Gonzalez said. “I’m so proud of the work our team has done over the past nine months, and I know that the real work of legislating is just beginning. I’m excited to continue to grow our Socialists in Office block in January.”