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Queens Ledger News Group Endorses Juan Ardila for Assembly

Correction: Eugene Noh does not work as campaign advisor for O’Leary. O’Leary also did not hire Won’s team of field operators in his run for AD37.

The 2022 Democratic primary elections are right around the corner. On June 28, voters in Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood, will head to the polls to cast their ballots for one of four political newcomers in the race for Assembly District 37.

Only one will win the chance to claim the Assembly District seat, previously occupied by outgoing Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, which has been up for grabs since February. This election day, voters will have the opportunity to choose from one of four candidates in the running for the State Assembly.

Brent O’Leary has an impressive resume as a civic leader with several years of experience. As a moderate, O’Leary is running on a platform that aims to increase community policing, maintain Mayoral control of city schools, and create a system that would promote homeownership over more traditional forms of affordable housing.

He previously lost his bid for office in the 2021 primary elections to Julie Won, finishing third among 15 candidates running for the New York City Council seat formerly occupied by Jimmy Van Bramer.

Brent has done a great deal of civic work for his community, but his current stance on increasing police enforcement contrasts with previous statements made during the 2021 election, where he openly stood in favor of cuts to the police budget, focusing resources instead on the community through affordable housing, education, health care, youth, and employment services.

Johanna Carmona, a young attorney who previously served as a Hispanic community liaison for Nolan, says she is running to help give her community more substantive representation in Albany. Carmona is also running a more moderate-leaning campaign platform focused on public safety, education, and affordable housing.

While she has been very accessible throughout the campaign, there is some concern that she could look to emulate some of the machine-aligned politicians who’ve endorsed her, including Nolan herself, who has been inaccessible low these past 5-6 years.

Jim Magee, a defense attorney who previously helped manage the campaign for Patrick O’Malley against Nolan in 2000, is running with the primary goal of revising the 2019 bail reform legislation. He also hopes to address wealth disparity and public transportation in the district.

Standing firm on his campaign goals to make it more difficult for violent offenders to get off bail, Magee is running a more conservative-leaning campaign than the other three candidates and runs the risk of facing an uphill battle when it comes to negotiating with members of the Democratic-led State Legislature.

Juan Ardila is a young community advocate whose experience working with The Legal Aid Society and the Department of Education, has given him the foresight to help local constituents and the wherewithal to effectively delegate the expansion of universal Pre-K programs.

As the more progressive-leaning candidate of the four, Ardila is running a platform that focuses on housing, climate, and healthcare. He is also in favor of legalizing accessory dwelling units and is a supporter of the proposed “good cause eviction” bill.

Ardila previously came up just short of unseating incumbent City Councilman Robert Holden in the 2021 Democratic primary. Obtaining 45 percent of the vote, he fell just 926 votes short of victory.

Although his campaign falls far left of the other three candidates, the fact that he says he won’t align with the Democratic Socialists of America and has stated his intentions to work with both sides of the aisle, in our eyes, makes him a more viable candidate in the Assembly race.

Based on the aforementioned reasons and the fact that his goals align with much of the voting populace in the district, our news organization endorses Ardila as the Democratic nominee in the race.

Unlike his opponents, Ardila said he wants to address the spike in violent crimes at the root of the problem by funding more programs for youth. He also has taken a stance on the local impact of air pollution, and the creation of a single-payer health care system statewide, bridging the unaffordability gaps that plague so many low and middle-income families in the district.

We feel that if elected Ardila will do his personal best to try and protect the community, remain accessible to constituents, and pass/write sensible legislation in concert with the concerns of his district up in Albany.

Poll: Democratic Primary election for Assembly District 37

Democratic primary election for Assembly District 37 –  Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood

NYS Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan is retiring from her seat after 35 years. Following the announcement, four local candidates will face-off in a Democratic Primary on June 28, to determine who will be the democratic contender in the November election to fill the empty Assembly seat. Nolan has put her endorsement with Johanna Carmona. Some say the endorsement could hurt Carmona because Nolan has been fairly inaccessible for the past 5 or 6 years. Brent O’Leary says he has learned a great deal about running for office since his council run last year. He is a civic leader who has been in the public eye for more than a decade. Juan is considered by most to be the front-runner in this race because of his strong showing in a council primary race last year against councilman Robert Holden, with similar district lines. But some do consider those votes to be anti-Holden votes as opposed to pro-Ardila. Ridgewood is said to be important for Juan. Jim Magee has the confidence to be in this race. It’s a question whether he can appeal to a wider base, outside Woodside/Sunnyside.

 

2022 Election Profile: Assembly Candidate Jim Magee

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Jim Magee, a defense attorney, former prosecutor, and lifelong resident of Sunnyside announced his bid for the New York State Assembly’s 37th District seat, occupied by outgoing Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.

Nolan, whose district encompasses the Hunters Point, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood communities in Western Queens, has held the position since 1984. Following the announcement of her retirement, four local candidates have opted to throw their hats into the ring.

Magee, 41, has run his own law firm for eight years, where he does pro bono work for locals who have found themselves in tough situations.

He earned his bachelor’s Degree from Fordham University and a Juris Doctorate from St. John’s Law School.

Although this is the first time Magee is running for office himself, he previously helped manage the campaign for Patrick O’Malley when he ran against Nolan for the same seat back in 2000.

The top three issues he’s focusing his campaign on are wealth disparity, bail reform, and public transportation.

“As a Democrat, I think that we should be focused on bridging the gap between the rich and the working class. I don’t understand the hesitance to do that, both nationally and in state government,” Magee said. “It’s irritating.”

Magee used the subject of economic disparity to segway into bail reform, which he’s adamantly opposed to.

“I couldn’t believe what was being proposed,” he said of the law enacted in 2019. “It was written by people who don’t work in the court and don’t know what was happening.”

Magee argues that the bail reform, intended to prevent the poor from sitting in jail until their court dates, has instead caused a stark uptick in crime in the city.

“Incarceration was down statewide 20 percent over the 10 years before bail reform was passed. Crime was also down,” Magee said. “I’m not saying the system was perfect, but whatever we were doing was working.”

He is in favor of making it more difficult for violent offenders to get bail, bringing back plainclothes police officers, and increasing police training.

As for public transportation, Magee said that local Manhattan-bound “7” train service has been shut down during midday for over 30 years, and must be restored.

“It’s been going on since I was in high school, and the MTA always gives the same reason… track replacement,” he said. “I’ve never seen anyone working on it, and I never understood why our elected officials never stepped up for that.”

He would also encourage increased frequency in bus service, and put pressure on the MTA not to increase the fare until riders saw a noticeable improvement in the quality of service provided.

To prepare for the election, Magee said he initially corralled a large group of friends to donate money, sign petitions, and spread the word. He has raised about $88,000 for his campaign so far.

“If you know me, and you live in the district, I’ve been a real pain in the ass,” Magee said. “I’ve been calling friends asking them to do things, my people have been knocking on doors, and mailers have gone out.”

He says that if elected, he will be accessible to constituents as he’s a parishioner at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside, and has his cell phone number on his business cards.

Magee will square off against three fellow attorneys—Brent O’Leary, a Hunters Point Civic Association co-founder and current president of Woodside on the Move, Johanna Carmona, Nolan’s former Hispanic community liaison, and Juan Ardila, a Legal Aid Society program coordinator and former Brad Lander staffer—who are all vying for the Assembly seat, in the upcoming Democratic primary on June 28th.

When it comes to his competition, Magee said that he feels Ardila is his biggest threat.

“He’s the only true blue progressive in the race, and the other three of us are some version of a moderate. I’m basically the Republican in this race,” Magee said.
“When I spoke with Cathy [Nolan], she made this seem as though it’s hopeless. But what I do for a living is dealing with a lot of eavesdropping and meeting with people to find out what they’re really interested in,” he continued.

“I’m very eager to do that in Albany and find out how it works.”

Mike Corbett enters 59th Senate District Race

By Matthew Fischetti

[email protected]

Mike Corbett, the vice-chair of the New York State Democratic Party, announced his candidacy for Senate District 59 on Friday, June 10.
Corbett, a lifelong resident of Murray Hill, is the first Manhattan-based candidate to enter the race for the newly created district that covers part of Manhattan, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and parts of western Queens.

The current candidates are Elizabeth Crowley, a former city councilwoman and cousin of former U.S. congressman Joseph Crowley, Kristen Gonzalez, a young Democratic Socialist and Working Families Party-backed challenger from Long Island City, and Nomiki Konst, an Astoria resident and long-time left media commentator and political activist.

Two days after his announcement, Corbett held a press conference to announce a high-profile endorsement from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

“Mike Corbett is unquestionably the best choice to represent the new Senate District 59,” Maloney said. “As a lifelong East Side resident who worked across the river for more than five years, there is no one who better understands the needs of the diverse communities in this district. I am thrilled to support Mike and look forward to working with him when he is in the State Senate.”

Corbett has a long history of working in New York State politics. For over five years he worked as director of special events for former New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides—-who previously represented parts of Astoria and western Queens—-leading the district’s participatory budgeting program. He has also served as an aide to Councilman Eric Dinowitz and Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez.

Corbett is also a third-generation Teamster who got some of his earliest experience in politics as a union mover. At 24, he was elected to the board of Local 814, making him the youngest elected member in that union’s history, according to his campaign.

“The response we’ve seen over the last 10 days shows that residents from Stuy Town to the Astoria Houses and from Murray Hill to Greenpoint want a candidate who understands their needs,” Corbett said on Sunday, announcing the endorsement outside of P.S. 40, where he attended elementary school. “I’ve dedicated my life to serving the wonderful, diverse communities of this district. Together, we will fight for environmental justice, create true affordable housing, build resilient infrastructure that prioritizes a holistic transit network, and protect workers’ rights.”

2022 Election Profile: Assembly Candidate Johanna Carmona

Johanna Carmona, a Sunnyside native and former Hispanic community liaison for outgoing Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, announced her bid for the New York State Assembly’s 37th District.

Nolan, whose district whose district encompasses the Hunters Point, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood communities in Western Queens, has held the position since 1984. Following the announcement of her retirement, four local candidates have opted to throw their hats into the ring.

Carmona, 32, is a lawyer who previously worked special victims for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. She has also been endorsed by Nolan, who has represented the area for decades and felt she is the most qualified to succeed her up in Albany.

The main reason Carmona is running for the Assembly is to help give her community substantive representation at the state level.

“The neighborhood’s growing, but at the same time, it still has the same values that I feel are there from when I was little,” Carmona said in an interview. She emphasized that the tight-knit community of Sunnyside has been instrumental in her own life, like when neighbors helped her Dad with everything from babysitters to cooking a decent meal after Carmona’s mother suffered a stroke.

Carmona’s three top issues she’d like to tackle up in Albany are public safety, education, and affordable housing.

“The rent increases are going to be a concern because it also affects someone like myself,” Carmona said about the Rent Guidelines Board potential increases, adding that she’s been a lifelong tenant. Carmona supports Good Cause Eviction, a bill that would strengthen tenant rights with certain clarification to the language of the bill, saying that some terms such as what is deemed ‘satisfactory’ to the court are too grey and needs more clear definitions.

While Carmona is generally supportive of bail reform, she says the legislation could have been written more robustly before passing. The former special victims prosecutor said that the bill lacked key provisions and that her experience as a lawyer will suit her to write effective legislation.

“And then there was also another one where they didn’t include which was obscene sexual acts performed by a child, why wasn’t that included? My biggest thing is that I’ve dealt with victims, and my biggest proponent is to make sure victims are protected. And, of course, it was amended and included that, but you know, people have to understand that the wording has to be careful when something that passes so quickly,” Carmona said.

Carmona plans to laser in on lowering class size, funding for after-school programs, and expanding college access programs.

“Making sure we have solid college access programs, I think will be very beneficial because it’s a nice way coming from a family of very low income to segue into a better job,” Carmona said, specifically highlighting how an NYU program helped her in her own life.

While Carmona has her main issues, she also would like to focus on otter topics like climate policy. Specifically, she’s looking at ways to revitalize Newton Creek, such as using the waterway as a source of renewable energy and utilizing discretionary funds to expedite the clean-up timetable.

Carmona has been hitting the district one door at a time, even giving her personal cell phone number to potential voters to make sure she is accessible to the community.

“The majority of people just want a better quality of life,” Carmona said about her conversations with voters across the district. “It comes down to people protecting their families, being able to afford their homes, and being able to just go down the street and say I can come back home safe. And honestly, it’s just that’s what’s been resonating throughout the whole district.”

Carmona will be facing fellow candidates Juan Ardilla, Jim Magee, and Brent O’Leary in the Tuesday, June 28 primary.

Bayside Attorney runs for Judge

Bayside’s own Karen Lin will be in the running for Queens Civil Court Judge in the upcoming Democratic Primary on June 28.

Lin officially announced her candidacy back in April, kicking off her campaign with a show of support from local elected officials including U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, State Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, and District Leader Carol Gresser.

With 25 yeast of legal and courtroom experience, Lin is running to increase representation in the judiciary and to make history as the first East-Asian American woman elected judge in Queens.

“As judges, our job is to serve the people,” Lin said in a statement. “I would love the opportunity to be someone who serves the people of Queens. This is my home, this is the place I love, and these are the streets I know. Representation matters, having people who are diverse on the bench matters.”

Last year, former NYS Assemblywoman and countywide Judge Michele Titus and Judge Laurentina McKetney Butler were elected to the New York State Supreme Court’s 11th Judicial District, leaving behind two open seats for Queens Civil Court Judge. Lin, along with attorney Thomas Oliva, were selected by Queens County Democrats to replace them.

On Monday, May 23, a press conference was held in front of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association to announce U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s endorsement of Karen Lin for Queens Civil Court Judge.

“We need judges on the bench that can relate to the people over whom they preside,” Velázquez said during the press conference. “We need diversity on the bench as it is an essential component of a fair and impartial judiciary. Bringing a range of experiences and perspectives allows judges to make better-informed decisions and increases public confidence in their rulings.”

Lin began her career as a civil rights and family law attorney at a small firm, representing families in New York City Family Court and the State Supreme Court. She subsequently left for an opportunity to work for New York State Senator Catherine Abate in lower Manhattan.

From her experience, she gained new insight into the needs of New Yorkers regarding issues such as affordable housing, fair wages, and labor rights, which she hopes to bring to the table if elected to the Queens Civil Court.

“I am deeply honored by Congresswoman Velázquez’s endorsement and support for my civil court race. In the most diverse county of Queens, Asian Americans remain vastly underrepresented in the judiciary,” Lin said in a release. “This is why I’m running. A qualified judiciary is more than just the sum of their professional experience. A judiciary that reflects the community it serves is the most legitimate and effective option. My commitment is and will always be the same: ensuring equal justice under the law for all.”

The Democratic Primary election will be held on June 28.

2022 Election Profile: Assembly Candidate Brent O’Leary

Correction: Eugene Noh does not work as campaign advisor for O’Leary. O’Leary also did not hire Won’s team of field operators in his run for AD37.

Brent O’Leary, one of the founders of the Hunters Pont Civic Association and President of the nonprofit organization Woodside on the Move, announced his bid for the 37th Assembly district seat, currently occupied by outgoing Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.

Nolan, whose district encompasses the Hunters Point, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood communities in Western Queens, has held the position since 1984. Following the announcement of her retirement, four local candidates have opted to throw their hats into the ring.

O’Leary, 52, has been working as an attorney for over 25 years. He was formerly a senior associate at White & Case, one of America’s top law firms, where he specialized in business and financial law.

He previously ran for office in the 2021 Democratic primary election, finishing third among 15 candidates in the running for the New York City Council district seat formerly occupied by Jimmy Van Bramer, losing to political newcomer Julie Won.

“My campaign is going to be run much more professionally this time,” O’Leary said, highlighting what he plans on doing differently.

O’Leary said he considers himself to be an “old school” FDR democrat, running a more moderate-leaning campaign than some of his more progressive opponents like Juan Ardila.

“We have different views on how you get things done,” O’Leary said in an exclusive interview with The Queens Ledger, regarding the three other candidates vying for Nolan’s Assembly seat.

A major proponent of his campaign focuses on providing quality paying jobs, providing a safety net for those who cannot afford private health care, providing quality education for district students, and improving public safety within the community.

“I am capable, caring, and committed,” O’Leary said about representing his community in Albany if elected.

O’Leary says that if he is elected to office he would look to address bail reform, establishing criteria for judges to determine whether or not to keep violent criminals behind bars; housing affordability and rent, promoting homeownership as an investment in the community; and education, which he feels should be left up to the decisions of the Mayor and not Albany lawmakers.

Apart from his work with local nonprofit organizations and civic groups, O’Leary has pitched in by coordinating with community churches to organize emergency food pantries and is working closely with the Hour Children program, dedicated to helping children of those incarcerated at Riker’s Island.

In preparation for the upcoming Democratic primary election on June 28th, O’Leary is canvassing door-to-door across the district, sharing his campaign message and speaking with potential constituents about the issues that matter most to their community.

O’Leary will appear on the ballot against candidates Juan Ardila, Johanna Carmona, and Jim McGee. Stay tuned to The Queens Ledger for election coverage and more to come.

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