Ferreras and Ulrich Are Headed to the City Council
by Daniel Bush
Feb 24, 2009 | 2750 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Julissa Ferreras on Roosevelt Avenue
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Braving the cold weather, Queens voters went to the polls February 24 to elect Julissa Ferreras and Eric Ulrich as the borough's newest City Council members.

Ferreras will represent the 21st District, made up of Corona, East Elmhurst and parts of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Ulrich won in the 32nd Council District, which includes Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Rockaway Park, among other neighborhoods.

The special elections were called by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to fill the seats vacated by Hiram Monserrate and Joseph Addabbo after the former City Council members were elected to the State Senate last November.

The race for Senator Monserrate's seat in the 21st District pitted Ferreras, his longtime chief of staff, against Francisco Moya, George Dixon, and Jose Eduardo Giraldo.

In a tense campaign that included several close debates, the four candidates, all of whom are Democrats, focused on plans to improve the district's education and health care systems, reduce crime along the Roosevelt Avenue corridor, and stimulate small business growth through various economic initiatives.

That three of the four candidates were Latinos reflected the Latino community's growing presence and involvement in the district.

In multiple interviews with this paper Ferreras, who was considered the favorite to win the race, vowed to bring resources to the struggling, multicultural district, which has suffered during the economic recession.

In the 32nd District, the race for Addabbo's vacated seat took an unlikely turn when Geraldine Chapey, a Democrat, succeeded in bouncing Frank Galluscio, a sentimental favorite among voters for his long record of serving the community, off the ballot due to an election law technicality. The unexpected move left Lew Simon, Ulrich, Mike Ricatto, and Chapey to fight for the seat.

The remaining candidates debated over several issues, ranging from crime to transportation to business development in the district, one of the city's biggest.

During the campaign, Ulrich stated his priority would be setting the district on firm economic footing while addressing quality-of-life issues affecting area residents, such as more fire and police services and fighting budget cuts to senior services.

Ferreras and Ulrich will serve the remainder of their respective predecessors' terms, which expire on December 31, 2009. Both will be forced to defend their seats this autumn.

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