Courtesy of Peralta’s campaign
The Queens County Democratic Party endorsed state Sen. Jose Peralta for re-election.
By Bill Parry

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) was pleased but not surprised when he learned Monday that his re-election campaign had scored an endorsement from the Queens County Democratic Party.

Peralta had come under harsh criticism from the organization during his 14-month membership in the Independent Democratic Conference, which aligned with Republicans in a power-sharing agreement that gave the GOP a majority in the state Senate, but everything changed when the IDC dissolved itself and reunited with the mainline Democrats April 4.

“It feels great but this is something that was talked about,” Peralta said. “The Queens County Democratic Party sent a loud message that we’re all on the same track now. With the current federal government in Washington, immigration, women’s issues and education are all under attack and we’ve all galvanized behind taking back not just the majority in the House of Representatives but also the majorities in the state houses. It’s about being on the same page and moving in the same direction.”

In January, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, had warned IDC members if they did not return by April, he would back their challengers in the primaries. The endorsement from the organization shows reunification is complete, Peralta said.

“New Yorkers want to see their public officials fighting to advance progressive values and enact measures that will create good-paying jobs, expand access to health care, protect immigrants, and keep guns out of our schools and communities,” Queens County Democratic Party Executive Secretary Michael Reich said. “The only way these goals will be accomplished is by working together to elect Democrats at every level of government. For this reason, the Queens County Democratic Party believes Jose Peralta is the right choice for District 13 and endorses his re-election.”

Peralta said he and Crowley had spoken several times since the reunification in April.

“I am immensely proud to have received the support of Queens County,” Peralta said. “For the past eight years, I have had the great privilege of serving my constituents with the steadfast leadership they deserve. With the support from Queens County, I once again reaffirm my commitment to champion progressive values and issues that move our state forward. Working with my Queens colleagues, I have fought tirelessly for working men and women by successfully raising the minimum wage and passing paid family leave, bettering our schools, securing historic levels of legal aid funding for immigrants, and protecting tenants and homeowners. Our work is not over, but this endorsement signals to the people of Queens that we are united in fighting for them.”

Jackson Heights resident Jessica Ramos, who resigned as director of Latino media at City Hall to launch a primary challenge against Peralta, released a statement Monday on the Queens County Democratic Party’s endorsement. Ramos, who served as a Democratic district leader from 2010 to 2014, pressed her attack on Peralta.

“First Jose Peralta embraced the party of Trump. Then he sought support from the domestic abuser Hiram Monserrate. Now that it’s an election year, he has conveniently decided to join the Democratic Party once again,” Ramos said. “Comptroller [Scott] Stringer, Council members [Costa] Constantinides and [Jimmy] Van Bramer, the Working Families Party, and thousands of grassroots supporters are supporting our campaign — because they know that unlike Peralta, I will never betray our district or are party. I’m running to fix the subways, protect affordable housing, and fund our public schools — and when I get to Albany, I will actually deliver for working families.”

The Peralta campaign took umbrage at Ramos’ remarks.

“Senator Peralta has never embraced the policies of President Trump and has not sought out the support of fellow Democrat Hiram Monserrate,” Peralta for Senate spokeswoman Jennifer Blatus said. “Jessica Ramos has delivered false information to deflect from the fact that Queens Democrats have united and are moving forward together for the betterment of the borough.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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