6 THE QUEENS COURIER • 2022 PREVIEW • JANUARY 6, 2022 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Queens political stories
to watch for in 2022
BY JULIA MORO
In 2021, many political races and stories
demanded extensive media coverage.
From former Gov. Andrew Cuomo ending
a decade-long run in disgrace to historic
local Queens races, New Yorkers were
Now, as we look ahead to 2022, here are
some key political stories to keep an eye on.
Congressional District 12 race
First, we have Rana Abdelhamid running
to represent New York’s 12th Congressional
District, which consists of western Queens
as well as sections of east Manhattan
and north Brooklyn. Abdelhamid is a
Democrat running for incumbent U.S.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s seat.
Abdelhamid is focusing her platform on
recovery and relief as the COVID-19 pandemic
continues to wreak havoc on her
community. Abdelhamid is also a proponent
of improving aff ordable housing,
investing in public education and passing
Green New Deal.
Her progressive stances have garnered
the support of high-profi le Democrats
such as Councilwoman Tiff any Cabán,
actress and former New York gubernatorial
candidate Cynthia Nixon, and former
Long Island City Councilman Jimmy
Van Bramer. She is also backed by Justice
Democrats, the group that helped U.S Rep.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal
Bowman unseat their incumbent challengers.
Maloney, who’s occupied that seat since
2013, also supports the Green New Deal, as
well as building up public transportation.
Last summer, Maloney only narrowly
beat her primary challenger, activist Suraj
Patel, by 3,500 votes. Patel told media back
in March that he also intends to run again.
A new era of women-led
politics in the City Council
Councilwoman Adrienne Adams
declared victory in the race for speaker on
Friday, Dec. 17, making her the fi rst Black
woman to sit in that position.
“Our coalition refl ects the best of our
city,” Adams said. “We are ready to come
together to solve the enormous challenges
we face in order to not just recover from
COVID but to build a better, fairer city
that works for everyone.”
Adams will be leading a history-making
women-led City Council. As many as 31
women are sitting in City Council seats in
the 51-member body, with many of them
Th e group 21 in ’21, founded in 2017,
advocated on behalf of several candidates to
elect more women to seats on the Council.
Some new members include Astoria
Democrat Cabán, Oakland Gardens
Democrat Linda Lee, Sunnyside Democrat
Julie Won and Howard Beach Republican
Excluded Workers Fund
Queens offi cials are advocating for
additional funds to be invested in the
Excluded Workers Fund, which has provided
$2 billion to over 300,000 families.
State Senator Jessica Ramos, Queens
Borough President Donovan Richards
and activists called on Gov. Kathy Hochul
to invest an additional $3 billion to the
Excluded Workers Fund that provides
aid to people left out of government programs
like unemployment or the stimulus
packages during the ongoing COVID-
Considering the fund was drained aft er
A poll worker watches as voters fi ll out their ballots at the P.S. 31Q polling site in Bayside on Tuesday,
Nov. 2, 2021.
only about four months of being open
to applications, activists are considering
the hundreds of thousands of other families
still in need of those funds. Advocates
estimated that around 50,000 applicants
were left out since the fund closed.
Most of these families excluded from
government aid are undocumented immigrants
that pay taxes and contribute to the
What NYC offi cials will throw their
name in the hat for the governor race?
Th e New York state gubernatorial race
will be quite a show. Th e resignation of
Gov. Andrew Cuomo resulted in almost
an immediate rush of candidates vying for
the seat, currently held by Hochul. While
Hochul is running to be elected for the position,
so are a number of other candidates.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane
Williams declared his candidacy in
November, branding himself as the party’s
progressive option. Williams, who describes
himself as a democratic socialist, ran for lieutenant
Photo by Paul Frangipane
governor against Hochul in 2018 but
came up short by about 6 percentage points.
De Blasio ends his eight-year mayoral
administration this year and fi led paperwork
a month ago for his potential gubernatorial
run. But there may be a few factors against
de Blasio, who had an unsuccessful bid for
president in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Tom Suozzi, Democratic Congressman
who represents parts of northeast Queens
and Long Island, is also running for the
position. Th e former mayor of Glen Cove
and Nassau County executive now describes
himself as a “commonsense Democrat” representing
parts of Queens and Long Island
Reform at Rikers Island
Queens elected offi cials have not been
quiet on this issue.
Th e plan, as of now, is to close Rikers
Correctional Center by 2027. Under this
plan, smaller jails would replace Rikers in
each borough except Staten Island— construction
on the Kew Gardens facility has
already begun. Th e plan as a whole are controversial.
Councilman Robert Holden, among other
Queens leaders, stood outside the Kew
Gardens construction site to protest borough
based jails in August 2021. Instead,
Holden suggested rebuilding Rikers.
“Th ere is no reason to close Rikers Island;
keep it open,” he said.
However, progressive Queens elected offi -
cials disagree, calling Rikers a humanitarian
crisis that includes a heated debate about
solitary confi nement. U.S Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez has called on Hochul to
immediately close Rikers and release those
detained in September, when the death
count at the jail was at 11 (it is currently at
14). De Blasio, however, said that idea was
New Mayor Eric Adams has consistently
supported closing Rikers but recently
started to walk back on those sentiments.
Particularly, Adams brings up issues
with the community-based jails and their
Photo courtesy of 21 in ’21
A fi rst-ever woman majority is taking over the City Council, with many representing Queens and supported by 21 in ’21.