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Queens Borough President Candidates to Debate at Sunnyside Forum Next Week

A candidate forum for Queens District Attorney was held at Sunnyside Community Services on May 17, 2019 (Photo: SCS)

Jan. 7, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The Queens Borough President race is in full swing and five candidates have confirmed that they will be in Sunnyside next week for a forum.

Council Members Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards and Jimmy Van Bramer — along with former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and police reform advocate Anthony Miranda — will take the stage at Sunnyside Community Services on Tuesday Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m.

The forum, sponsored by the Sunnyside Post and Sunnyside Community Services will be moderator by Christian Murray, Queens Post Publisher and Judy Zangwill, SCS Executive Director.

This public forum will offer Queens residents a chance to learn more about the candidates before casting their vote in the special election on March 24.

The five candidates are vying for the seat vacated by Melinda Katz, who became the Queens District Attorney on Jan. 1. Additional candidates may be added as they publicly announce their run.

Costa Constantinides

Constantinides, who has been a council member since 2014, was born and raised in Astoria — which he still calls home — and is best known for his zeal in combating climate change. He has been the Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection for the past four years.

During his tenure representing Astoria, Constantinides has committed to create 500 affordable units for seniors in his district by 2021 and crafted the eight-bill Climate Mobilization Act, which requires landlords to make their large buildings energy efficient, promotes renewable energy within the city and begins the process of closing the dirtiest power plants.

His campaign issues include improving public housing, protecting workers rights, making sustainability part of schools’ curriculums, protecting the borough from climate change and storms, increasing accessibility and protecting immigrant communities.

Elizabeth Crowley

Former Council Member Crowley is the only woman running for the seat.

Born and raised in Elmhurst, Crowley was elected to the City Council in 2008, becoming the first woman and first Democrat to represent the 30th District, where she currently lives in Glendale. She narrowly lost the seat to Robert Holden in 2017.

A single mom and union worker, Crowley fought for equal pay and equal opportunity for women in the workplace and successfully led the fight to restore millions of dollars of women’s healthcare service after the mayor sought budget cuts. She later co-founded an advocacy group to help women get elected to local office.

Crowley served as Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee, where she led a citywide effort to save firehouses and improve the city’s 911 call-taking system and she was one of the first politicians to call for the closure of Rikers.

Her campaign issues include improving mass transit, increasing affordable housing, creating good jobs, and protecting the environment.

Anthony Miranda

Miranda, who has lived with his family in Fresh Meadows since 2007, is the only contender who has not been previously been elected to a public office. However, Miranda has served the public as a member of the NYPD for over two decades and retired as a decorated sergeant.
Miranda established the National Latino Officers Association in 1996 after seeing black and Latino officers like himself face job discrimination with the department. The organization, where Miranda currently serves as chairperson, ensures equal representation in hiring and promotional practices in law enforcement agencies.
His campaign issues include increasing healthcare access, ensuring housing is a right, increasing funding for Queens schools, improving public transportation, protecting immigrants and supporting efforts to keep people out of city jails.

Donovan Richards

Richards, a lifelong Queens resident who has represented Southeast Queens in the City Council since 2013, was first inspired to begin a career in politics when he was 18 years old, after his childhood friend was shot and killed. Since then, he has worked to end gun violence and is currently the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety.

Richards has lived in Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis and Rosedale. During his tenure in City Council, he fought for rezoning and funding for flood protection of the Rockaways following Superstorm Sandy.

His campaign issues include criminal justice reform, job creation and affordable housing, protecting immigrant rights and fixing public transportation.

Jimmy Van Bramer

Van Bramer was the first to announce his bid for the BP seat and is a lifelong borough resident, raised in Astoria by two union members. Before being elected to the council in 2009, he worked for the Queens Public Library and served on Community Board 2.

He entered politics in the 1990s as an organizer for campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of special interest groups.

Van Bramer, who is term limited like Constantinides and Richards, currently serves as Deputy Leader of the City Council and Chair of the Council’s Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee, where he has fought to secure over $1 billion for the city’s libraries and the arts during his tenure.

His campaign issues include fighting for better transit service, expanding affordable housing, getting big money out of politics and protecting immigrant communities.

The Sunnyside forum is free to attend and community members can submit questions for the candidates by emailing them to Selected questions will be asked at the forum at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th St.

To register for the free forum, click here.

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Click for Comments 
a question for councilman van bramer...

Someone needs to ask JVB how, as the head of the city council library committee he let the Court Square Library get to the point we are at today? Its not enough that he went to protest at the 11th hour…. what was he doing all year to stop the closure of find an alternative space? JBV you failed us!


Crowleys have stolen so much from Queens already, and she lie that she worked on her father’s campaign – but she was only 4. what has Crowley done since she left city council?
if they cant answer spontaneous questions from audience , not capable,, then they should not be in this race. Joe Crowley was unintelligent at his debates with AOC.


Heard just now that Costa and Van Bramer have made a pact not to attack each other in this race.

Make it interesting

All candidates should get to the place from Times Square on rush hour using only the 7 train. They have only the MTA suggested travel time of 18 minutes.
Only after that, they can tell us what they think that we need.

Gardens Watcher

GOP may get a candidate after all. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again, even decades later.

So impressive, what a waste of democracy

What about proposals related to the neighborhood reality and needs? No more blah blah Im a good person,. vote for me…

– Small businesses over chains. Queens Blvd is filled up with “Store for Rent” no real stores;
– More police enforcement (stabbings at Midday is not alarming for those candidates?)
– Shelters only after a public town hall approval;
– Push the MTA to do something with the fffkd 7 ttain, more alternate public transportations (as the jobs and stores are NOT in Sunnyside…unless you buy and work at a convinience store, then you are fine)


Why should constituents submit questions beforehand? The goal of the q&a is to gain insight to how knowledgeable the candidates are to constituents queries/statements without prep time. Moreover, who selects the questions? Constituents are clamoring for answers to tough questions not softballs selected by the Queens political machine.

– Alex from Sunnyside

Gardens Watcher

Should be interesting. The CNN DNC debate in Iowa is scheduled for later that night. Although the DNC has said it is subject to reschedule the date (depends on status of the impeachment trial).


and what about JVB taking plenty and I mean plenty of money from real estate
companies and it has been proven to be a fact –

its time they all got a real job

Whats this about closing prisons and prison reform? so criminals wont get reprimanded? No mention of cleaner streets, hardly a mention of job creation. No mention of more police patrols.No mention of how to combat the rise in crime. No mention in planning to reduce homeless shelters or helping the homeless in general. Are they all so out of touch with the borough of queens that they are not aware that the majority of the people want the aforementioned addressed. Im definitely voting republican


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