By Iryna Shkurhan | [email protected]
Current Queens District Attorney Melina Katz collected a wide range of endorsements weeks out from election day.
Most notably, Mayor Eric Adams said that “of course” he is endorsing Katz for reelection, citing her efforts to engage with communities, and vacate wrongful convictions while working collaboratively with police, in a statement.
Several LGBT groups — including The Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC and the Lavender Line Democratic Club of Queens — also showed their support by publicly endorsing her during Pride Month.
Katz took office in January 2020, making history as the first woman to hold the office. Right before that she served as the Queens Borough President for two terms and represented Forest Hills, parts of Maspeth, South Elmhurst and Richmond Hill as a city councilwoman from 2002 to 2009. She also served in the state assembly, and had various stints in private law since graduating from St. John’s Law School.
Running against her is Democratic candidate George Grasso, a retired judge and former NYPD deputy commissioner, who is pushing a tough on crime platform. Two of the few endorsements that Grasso received are prominent ones: the FDNY Union and former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
Last week, Moms Demand Action, a national coalition working to pass stronger gun laws since 2012, endorsed Katz as their gun sense candidate.
In April, Katz’s office launched the state’s first prosecution of an international ghost gun trafficking operation. A St. Albans man and his associate in Texas were charged with assembling and selling untraceable firearms in New York City and Trinidad.
“Ghost gun trafficking is a burgeoning cottage industry. We are seeing individuals with no criminal history assembling and selling ghost guns to supplement their legal income,” said Katz in a press release. “It is a deeply troubling trend that threatens to make an already pervasive gun violence problem much worse.”
In 2022, the Queens DA office seized 40 percent of ghost guns in the city, more than the DA offices in other boroughs.
“The fact remains that the more we limit access to firearms, the more lives are saved. That is why I have led the effort in taking illegal weapons, including ghost guns, off the streets of Queens, and will continue to dedicate all resources at my disposal to ensure a safe borough,” said Katz in a press release. “I am honored by this recognition from Moms Demand Action.”
In a justice oriented step, she launched Queens’ first-ever Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) to identify and prove wrongful convictions of innocent defendants. Cases can be outlined in an intake form and submitted through email, or in person to the DA’s office in Kew Gardens for consideration.
Katz’s most recent endorsement came from Captain Endowment Association of the NYPD, a law enforcement union, joining the Lieutenants Benevolent Association. And despite the FDNY Union endorsement that Grasso received, Katz secured the support of Local 2507 Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors in Whitestone.
“She has challenged the entire institution of the DA’s office to address issues specific to the LGBTQ+ community, and gotten results for us,” said Rod Townsend, President of the Lavender Line Democratic Club of Queens, in a statement. “Without hesitation, we endorse her for re-election.”
Early voting runs from June 17 to June 25. The primary election is on June 27.