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Queens Chronicle

2019 CELEBRATION OF QUEENS

From left to right: celebrating Queens’ political scene

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 10:30 am

POWER BROKERS

The biggest political upsets of the last two national election cycles had their roots in Queens.

Last year it was progressive insurgent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s defeat of longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for the 14th Congressional District, straddling his home turf of western Queens and hers of the Bronx.

And before that came brash Jamaica Estates native Donald Trump’s demolition of 16 fellow Republican candidates in the 2016 GOP primary for president and his November victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Politics ain’t beanbag” goes the old saying, and whether it’s an electoral shock from a young woman from the Bronx running to the left of her opponent, or one from an older man who left Queens for fame and fortune decades ago, the borough has certainly had its hand in the political shakeups of the last couple years. And naturally it’s had its own brand of politics — many brands in fact — for a very long time. Here, in our 22nd Annual Celebration of Queens special edition, we look at selected areas of the borough’s politics from left to right.

Of course, most of what we report on here is on the left — like most of the city, Queens is dominated by Democrats, with Republicans having been forced back on their heels for years. Trump won, but he didn’t win his hometown, or even come close, and today there is only one GOP elected official from the borough. Among the stories you’ll find here is one about the growing strength of the progressive movement that propelled Ocasio-Cortez into office — along with knocking out moderate Democratic state senators who had allied with Republicans and successfully pressing for the reversal of the Amazon deal in Long Island City.

Whatever you think of any of these developments, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that progressivism is ascendant in Queens.

That’s not to say conservatives should be counted out, however. Buoyed by Trump, they’re making waves too, largely around the revitalized Queens Village Republican Club. The oldest GOP club in the country, it had dwindled to a handful of members in the mid-1990s but has seen a resurgence, especially after widening its appeal to new Americans from countries outside of western Europe. Haitians, Koreans, Pakistanis and more have all been drawn to the club.

On the Democratic club side, articles here look at three in particular, two in Southeast Queens and another that’s the oldest in the borough. But it’s always back to the future in this edition, and indeed the very first story beyond this page talks about how someone can get involved in politics. We also have a piece on the importance of getting everyone counted in the next Census, and a handy list of all the elected officials representing Queens, at the city, state and federal levels.

Politics doesn’t always bring the word “celebration” to mind. There are winners, there are losers, there is division, inherently. And this is a time when our country is sharply divided, seemingly more so than it has been for decades. Yet we hope that whatever your beliefs, you will, like we did, find things to celebrate, and learn, in reading about the Queens political scene from left to right, past, present and future.

Peter C. Mastrosimone

Editor-in-Chief

CONTENTS:

• How you can get involved in politics

• The rise of the progressives in Queens

• The Queens Village Republican Club

• Leaving ‘an indelible mark’: the Vallones

• Politics and civics in Southeast Queens

• Some surprising stances: the Addabbos

• That sense of community: the Weprins

• Queens’ oldest Democratic club: Jefferson

• The stunning success of candidate Trump

• The most famous of Queens’ politicians

• Making sure everyone counts: the Census

• Your guide to Queens’ elected officials

Supplement editor: Peter C. Mastrosimone;

Editorial layout: Terry Nusspickel

Supplement designer: Jan Schulman; cover illustration by Jan Schulman;

rawpixel.com / Freepik

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