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Revived ‘West Queens Independent Democratic Club’ to host forum with Congresswoman Velázquez in Sunnyside Sunday

An independent Democratic-leaning political club that was inactive for years has been revived and members are holding a meeting this Sunday in Sunnyside where Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez is scheduled to speak (Photos: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez via US House Office of Photography, voting booth by Michael Dorgan)

Oct. 12, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

An independent Democratic-leaning political club that was inactive for years has been revived and members are holding a meeting this Sunday in Sunnyside where Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez is scheduled to speak.

The West Queens Independent Democratic Club (WQIDC), which was established during the Vietnam War, will host the meeting at 5:30 p.m. from the Romanian Garden, a Romanian restaurant located at 4306 43rd Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

Organizers will be disseminating sign-up forms for residents to join the club, and they will also be providing information to help constituents register to vote for this year’s local elections in November. The deadline to register for this year’s election is Oct. 28.

Dorothy Morehead, who is treasurer of the WQIDC and a former member of Community Board 2, said the club aims to provide a regular forum where constituents can engage with their elected representatives, as well as those seeking office.

Velázquez, who has served in Congress since 1993, is expected to brief attendees about her recent legislative accomplishments, allocation of funds and her plans for the future. Velázquez represents District 7, which covers Sunnyside, Long Island City, Astoria, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Woodhaven, as well as parts of Brooklyn.

Another reason for the club being restarted is to get residents more politically engaged in the democratic process, Morehead said.

“The last time we were active, there weren’t many people living in Long Island City, and now we’d like to include them, as well as people in Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, anyone in western Queens really.”

Morehead said there is also a need to have more Hispanics join their club.

“They really are underrepresented, so we would love to see more Hispanics which are now a huge population in Sunnyside.”

Dorothy Morehead (l.) is treasurer of the WQIDC while Jim Magee (r.) is the president of the WQIDC (Photo of Morehead by Michael Dorgan, and image of Magee, courtesy of Jim Magee’s former campaign)

The club was reactivated earlier this year and held meetings over the summer which were attended by Council Member Julie Won and State Senator Michael Gianaris. Jim Magee, a former candidate for Assembly District 37 is president of the club.

“This is an independent democratic club… and we work with regular Democrats,” Morehead said.

“We have independent meetings and [former Assemblymember] Cathy Nolan was a member of our club for a very long time and supported us. She’s always been a regular Democrat so we have no issue with that, we just sometimes vote for candidates other than what the regular Democrats are proposing.”

Morehead said the club used to be very active in civic matters and often organized food drives.

It was formed in 1968 as a means of opposing the Vietnam War. The group also marched in the past for women’s rights, labor causes, quality education, affordable health care and the environment.

She said she hopes the club can rebuild its membership numbers and become impactful.

“We are building momentum, and that’s why all our meetings are open to the public and in public places. We would like to get more members involved.”

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