FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 9, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 23
Queens Democratic Party endorses CM
Donovan Richards in contested process
Governor Cuomo assists in
rescue on the BQE in Woodside
BY EMILY DAVENPORT
Governor Cuomo jumped into action
on Monday aft ernoon when an overturned
car on the Brooklyn Queens
Expressway in Woodside left an injured
man trapped inside.
At around 1:15 p.m. on Jan. 6, it is
reported that the governor was leaving
an event for the Association for a
Better New York in Manhattan and as he
was traveling down the Brooklyn Queens
Photo: Max Parrott/QNS
Expressway near Queens Boulevard, a car
looked like it was about to tip over at the
A spokesperson from the governor’s
offi ce stated that police had not arrived
yet when the governor’s car pulled over.
Video taken at the scene by one of the
governor’s staff members shows Cuomo
standing on the barrier assisting fi rst
responders in pulling the man out of the
cab of the truck – available at QNS.com.
At this time, it is not clear what the
extent of the injuries were for the trapped
man. Courtesy of Cuomo's offi ce
BY MAX PARROTT
Queens County Party leaders appealed
for party unity, while reform-minded
members protested for inter-party reforms
at the Queens County Democratic Party
headquarters in Forest Hills on Monday
Th e party leadership made a late-notice
call for a meeting of its district leaders on
Dec. 30 where they pushed the offi cials to
endorse Councilman Donovan Richards
for borough president in the special election
expected to take place in March.
Th e offi cials voted to approve the
endorsement for Richards over the din of
chanting from a group of reform-minded
progressives, who organized a press
conference outside the building to protest
an endorsement process that they say
does not refl ect the wishes of the party’s
rank and fi le.
Th e groups outside — the New
Reformers and Queen County Committee
For All — both committed to reforming
the positions of district leader and county
commissioner, demanded that the party
stop the practice of endorsing candidates,
Before the vote took place, the Party
Chair and Congressman Gregory Meeks
fi rst presented Assemblywoman Alicia
Hyndman, who conceded her campaign
for borough president. Meeks then invited
Richards on to the stage, who delivered
a speech thanking the district leaders for
“I want to thank each and everyone of
you for your encouragement and I want
to continue to grow,” said Richards, who
would be the fi rst African-American to
take on the role of Queens borough president
Meeks explained that he thought it necessary
to make an endorsement now in
order to meet the 10-day window to get
petitions aft er Mayor de Blasio announces
the special election. Election lawyers
expect the petition process to go from Jan.
2 to 13 and the special election to happen
on March 24.
“It’s important for us — in this nonpartisan
election — to try to get behind
someone. To get those petitions done. To
knock on doors. Th at’s what the democratic
process is all about,” said Meeks.
In his speech, Richards addressed the
criticism of the protesters outside that district
leaders are not doing enough to listen
to the political leanings of their constituents
when they divulge from those of the
“In this room right here, people have
demonized and said you are the establishment,
and it’s not true,” said Richards,
addressing the district leaders. “Yes, we
want to ensure that we are giving olive
branches to other folks but they have to
want to work with us.”
Meeks put forth Richards’ name for
nomination and asked if there were any
other individuals the district leaders
would like to nominate.
One of the district leaders, former state
Senator Hiram Monserrate, who was
expelled from the Senate aft er a domestic
violence conviction, raised a point of
order about the voting process.
“Have any of the other candidates who are
seeking a run for borough president been
invited so that they can make their appeal
also to this body?” Monserratte asked.
Meeks responded that other candidates
have indicated publicly they did not want
the nomination. No one else was nominated,
and the district leaders overwhelmingly
voted to approve the endorsement.
Two other councilmen running for borough
president against Richards, Jimmy
Van Bramer and Costa Constantinides,
both previously signed a pledge not to
participate in the Queens Democratic
Party’s endorsement process. Meeks said
that former Councilwoman Elizabeth
Crowley had also indicated that she was
not seeking the endorsement.
Speaking before the vote took place,
Moumita Ahmed, one of the co-founders
the New Reformers, said that any decision
of the party under the circumstances
of the meeting “may be legal but it cannot
Ahmed organized the demonstration
aft er she got a tip that the party would not
only be endorsing a candidate for borough
president at the meeting, but that
it would be endorsing Vice President Joe
Biden in the 2020 presidential election as
well. Although Meeks did solicit district
leaders who would want to be Biden delegates
in the meeting, he did ask for a vote
on the presidential election endorsement.
Aft er the meeting, Nick Haby, a member
of the New Reformers and candidate
for district leader, who was protesting outside
when the vote was taking place, criticized
the outsized infl uence of Meeks’
preference on the vote for district leader.
He also poked holes in the process,
saying that the portion of the 72 district
leaders who showed up for a rushed vote
didn’t represent a rigorous enough eff ort
to engage Queens voters.
“Th at’s not democracy,” said Haby.
Asked how he came to favor Richards,
Meeks claimed that he was informed by
conversations he had the district leaders
on their preferences.
Congressman Gregory Meeks addresses the Queens Democratic district leaders.