WFP endorses three more Queens candidates

The Working Families Party announced Wednesday that it was backing three Queens candidates for City Council.

Three Queens candidates received backing for City Council from the Working Families Party in a second wave of endorsements from the progressive third party.

The endorsements went to legal advocate Juan Ardila, high school teacher Felicia Singh and community organizer Aleda Gagarin. WFP previously endorsed its first Queens Council candidate, public defender and former district attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán, at the end of September.

Ardila is challenging incumbent Robert Holden (D-Middle Village) in a district that includes Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside. A first-generation immigrant who grew up in Maspeth, he has focused his campaign on addressing the district’s lack of access to mass transportation and affordable housing. Ardila’s record of public service includes working for the Legal Aid Society, the Department of Education and as an office manager for Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn).

Holden is a registered Democrat, but narrowly won his seat in 2017 by running on the Republican line after losing the Democratic primary to then-incumbent Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

Singh is running in a district that includes Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach and western parts of the Rockaways, and is currently represented by Queens sole Republican Councilmember, Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). A teacher at a public charter school in Brooklyn, Singh has made education reform a pillar of her campaign. So far six other candidates have formally announced their intention to run for the seat.

Gagarin is running in a crowded field to succeed Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), who is term-limited in a district that includes Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill. Residents urged Gagarin to run after she worked as campaign manager for her husband Mel’s campaign challenging Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) earlier this year. She has said that her campaign will heed the call for racial and economic justice. 

The endorsements come as WFP seeks to push the Council left in the coming 2021 elections, where 35 of the 51 seats are open due to term limits. The party’s state political director told Politico that one of its goals is to reduce the NYPD budget and reallocate funds to social services.

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