Quinn announced his bid on January 3, three days after retiring as an assistant district attorney in Queens, a position he held for 42 years.
Throughout his tenure at the District Attorney’s Office, Quinn tried more than 30 murder cases and hundreds of others.
Unlike the other candidates in the race, Quinn staunchly opposes the bail reform laws recently passed by the state legislature, as well as the city’s plan to close Rikers Island in favor of four borough-based jails.
Quinn spoke out on these issues for years on behalf of the DA’s Office, but he is hoping that as borough president he will have a more influential role through which to take action.
“I want to do everything I can to stop a Rikers Island from being built in Kew Gardens,” said Quinn in an interview last week. “I want to do everything I can to stop these new bail laws.”
Many of his positions are informed by his career. According to Quinn, a study ran by the DA’s Office on the population of Rikers Island showed that inmates had an average record of eight prior felony arrests, seven prior misdemeanor arrests and eight prior convictions.
He also says that the study found most weren’t being detained for turnstile jumping or possession of small amounts of marijuana, as is commonly presumed.
“As an ADA you see the effect of crime in neighborhoods,” Quinn added. “As a young assistant, I would interview victims of robberies, assaults and burglaries. Later on, when I got into trying murder cases, I got to see the families of victims of crime.
“It’s an extremely emotional experience,” he added. “So you become sensitive to the notion that people are going to be getting out all the time.”
Quinn’s developing platform also includes working with businesses like Amazon in an effort to bring high-paying jobs to Queens.
“What I don’t understand with these guys,” he said of his opponents, “is they don’t want to bring in a business that will create 25,000 jobs in Queens County, but they would build a prison to house 4,000 inmates. Where’s the priority?”
For the last 25 years, Quinn has lived in Richmond Hill with his wife Susan, a retired Catholic school teacher. He grew up in the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City, attending local public elementary and middle schools before graduating from Brooklyn Tech.
Quinn went on to obtain a bachelor’s from Columbia University, followed by a law degree from Fordham.
In 1977, the same year he started at the Queens DA’s office, Quinn got married and moved to Astoria, where he started a family of four children, who are now parents to the couple’s four grandchildren.
Upon collecting the 2,000 required signatures, Quinn filed to appear on the March 24th special election ballot on Monday.