The communities of Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and East Elmhurst comprise the 21stCouncil District. Hiram Monserrate, the former councilman who is charged with assaulting his girlfriend during a December 19th incident, vacated the council post when he won the battle for the local State Senate seat formerly held by John Sabini.
Queens Democratic Party insiders say that Francisco Moya is their choice, but they understand that there will be significant carry-over support for Hiram's former chief of staff, Julissa Ferreras.
Ferreras, 32, who has worked with non-profits including Libre, a group that has received city funds to provide English-language instruction and job placement, although published reports state that the organization is having trouble accounting for hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding.
Ferreras is aiming to become the first Latin woman to be elected in a district that primarily serves Queens. Councilwoman Diana Reyna serves Ridgewood in the Council, but her district is predominately in Brooklyn.
Ferreras has the early support of a number of current City Council members.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez has endorsed Moya.
"It is with great enthusiasm that I proudly announce my endorsement of Francisco Moya for City Council,” she said in a statement released last week. “I have worked alongside of Francisco for many years and I know him to be a dedicated community leader who is honest, ethical, and transparent. He will serve with integrity in the City Council and unite our communities with one voice.”
Moya, who has been at the forefront of civil rights and hate crimes issues locally, was joined recently at a rally for civil rights in Harlem held by Velazquez, the City Council and Ya Basta Coalition, which is where the congresswoman pledged her support for his candidacy.
Along with Moya and Ferreras, George Dixon has said he will be on the ballot for the February 24 special election.
Dixon, a 59-year-old Democratic district leader owns a graphic design business. He has a fairly strong base of voters involved in the East Elmhurst and Corona Civic Association. He has served on Community Board 3.
Moya, a 33-year-old Democratic district leader, said he is best qualified to serve the neighborhoods because he has worked on the local and national levels.
"We are on the brink of an affordable housing crisis," said Moya, who works in government affairs for Cablevision.
He said the district also needs to look at downzoning to cope with overdevelopment.
"This campaign is not about rhetoric, but about making a real difference in the daily lives of the working and middle class,” said Moya. “I am proud to receive the endorsement of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and work to solve the many challenges facing our community, including the creation of jobs for our residents, improving our local economy, combating the problem of overdevelopment, creating affordable housing, and providing access to affordable health and childcare services.”