Lee declares victory in Democratic primary race for eastern Queens City Council seat

Queens disability accessibility
Council member Linda Lee. (Courtesy of Lee’s office)

Incumbent Linda Lee, who’s running for re-election to the New York City Council to represent District 23, declared victory in the June 27 Democratic primary election after securing nearly 63% of the votes, according to unofficial results from the Board of Elections.

Lee garnered 62.57% of the vote (3,797 votes), with 96.70% of scanners reported as of Wednesday morning, June 28, while her opponents — Steve Behar (29.25% of the votes) and Rubaiya Rahman (7.40%) — have not secured enough votes to trigger a ranked-choice voting recount. 

Lee currently represents District 23 in eastern Queens, which includes the neighborhoods of Bayside, Douglaston, Glen Oaks, Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows, Hollis and Queens Village. 

Since taking office, Lee has shown that she is passionate about improving social service delivery for at-risk populations, improving healthcare and mental health access to New Yorkers, and promoting the wellbeing of seniors to a top priority in New York City. 

“I’ve dedicated my life to serving our most vulnerable populations — our older adults and our children,” Lee said in a statement. “As your council member for the past year and a half, I have worked tirelessly, to secure historic funding for our schools, to support law enforcement and make our neighborhoods safer and to deliver a better quality of life for our seniors and families.”

Lee is the first woman and person of color ever elected to Council District 23, where she has focused on public safety, education, mental health, and quality of life issues. She is a native New Yorker, a long time resident of Oakland Gardens, and before joining the City Council, was an active member of Community Board 11 and the School Leadership Team at her son’s school, and was a former Commissioner of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission. 

As the former president and CEO of Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS), Lee led the creation of community-informed solutions to improving the daily quality of life for thousands of community members through programming in the areas of education, senior care, mental health, healthcare access, economic and workforce development, and immigration services. Most importantly, Lee is the mother of two young children and the daughter of immigrant small business owners. 

The councilwoman said she is “honored and humbled” that eastern Queens voters saw through the “misinformation, divisive rhetoric, baseless attacks, and negative campaigning” of her opponents, allowing her to continue serving the community.  

“I want to thank my family, friends, campaign team, colleagues, the unions and issue advocacy organizations, and local supporters who helped me get here tonight because I couldn’t have done this alone,” Lee said. “Tonight, I will celebrate, but tomorrow I’ll be right back at work building on our accomplishments and fighting for eastern Queens residents.” 

While Rahman, a passionate advocate for women’s and disability rights, did not garner enough votes, she thanked those for their continued support. 

“We started this campaign to call attention to the thousands of families in our city whose children face challenges and struggle every day to get the services they deserve. We ran this campaign for the most vulnerable and the most marginalized members of District 23. We ran to unify a community that has yet to reach its full potential,” Rahman said. “We greatly appreciate all those who heard our message, supported our efforts and ultimately understood that to build a better community we must work together.”