In their campaigns, Francisco Moya, Julissa Ferreras, Eduardo Giraldo, and George Dixon alike appeared passionate and committed to brining positive change to the district, which encompasses Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona, and Jackson Heights.
A recession is an especially trying time to be an elected official in this city - indeed anywhere - as city and state budgets facing deficits are slashed and local leaders, like City Council members, are forced to fight even harder than usual to secure a limited pool of funding for their communities. Because of this, all four candidates must be commended for their interest in assuming office under such challenging circumstances.
In our eyes, however, after editorial board interviews and time spent touring the district with three of the candidates (George Dixon, a talented debater, could not be reached to meet with the Queens Ledger), one of the candidates stood out above the rest.
Francisco Moya has been working to improve his community for nearly two decades, since he founded the Corona Gardens Neighborhood Association at the young age of 15. Since then, he has held a number of posts at the state and federal level, most notably serving as the Secretary to the Senate for then-Senate Majority Leader David Paterson in Albany, where he was the highest-ranking Latino in state government.
These experiences, which include stints in Washington where he worked for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and others, place Moya in a unique position to use his state and federal connections to fight for the district he was born and raised in, still lives in, and is committed to improving as a member of the City Council.
Moya's priorities include downzoning parts of the district to stop overdevelopment and ensure affordable housing, improving health care and education, promoting small business growth, and increasing police and sanitation services, and reducing crime so the community's quality of life does not continue to slide.
Julissa Ferreras, a longtime chief of staff to Monserrate who ran perhaps the most polished campaign of all the candidates, shares many of Moya's values and ideas. Working with Monserrate, and before that in various other capacities for many years, the well-spoken, down-to-earth Ferreras has been a tireless advocate for the district, and has brought real, tangible improvements for residents.
Though Ferreras had little choice but to run on her predecessor's record, in evaluating her candidacy we focused on her talents and abilities as a politician, and past accomplishments, not on Monserrate and his recent, highly publicized misstep or even Ferreras' alleged connection to the Libre scandal.
Ferreras is in her own right a formidable force in the community and city politics and we hope the city is fortunate enough to continue receiving her attention and efforts. Giraldo, too, is a respected civic leader who has anchored the Latino community for years, a candidate who has helped improve the lives of many and who might, at least right now, best serve the community in his continued capacity as an organizer, business leader and behind-the-scenes player. Still, Moya's diverse experience and vision for the district make him the best choice to lead the district through difficult times.