H H H H H H PRIMARY VOTERS’ GUIDE 2021 H H H H H H
Queens Borough President race
BY JENNA BAGCAL
With the primary election for Queens borough president fast approaching,
the remaining candidates continue to campaign for the position, which is
currently held by Donovan Richards.
Back in November 2020, Richards beat out Republican challenger Joann Ariola
and third party candidate Dao Yin during the special election, becoming the
first Black man in history to serve as Queens borough president.
This year, Richards is running against fellow Democrats Elizabeth Crowley
and Jimmy Van Bramer and Republicans Danniel Maio and Thomas Zmich ahead
of the June 22 primary
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Crowley previously ran in the Democratic primary
for borough president in 2020, finishing second
in the five-candidate race. Prior to running for
borough president, Crowley was the first woman
and Democrat elected to City Council in District 30
and served on the Council for nine years. According
to the lifelong Queens resident, the top three issues
facing the borough are a post-COVID economic comeback, improvements to
public education and expanding transit and affordable housing for Queens
“I got results in the City Council: I took on the mayor when he wanted to
close 20 firehouses — and I won. I took on the former City Council speaker
when I felt our borough was being shortchanged in the city budget,” Crowley
Richards is seeking reelection after winning in the
special election in November 2020, earning 518,840
votes to Ariola’s 205,893 votes. Prior to starting his
new role, he served as councilman for District 31,
which represents Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere,
Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Far Rockaway.
The incumbent said that COVID-19 recovery is the most pressing issue in the
“People are struggling to pay their rent, access the vaccine, and find
employment. We must find solutions to these issues that ensure that low
income and minority communities have ample resources made available to
them so that they are not left behind,” Richards said.
Other top priorities include building more affordable housing, improving
transportation by redesigning streets, improving the borough’s bike network
and increasing bus service.
Jimmy Van Bramer
First elected to the City Council in 2009, Van Bramer
currently serves as the representative in District
26, but is unable to serve another term due to
term limits. He previously ran for Queens borough
president, announcing his candidacy in 2019, but he
dropped out of the race in early 2020.
Van Bramer got his start in public service as an
organizer for LGBTQ rights and was also an organizer for the Queens Public
According to the councilman, the most pressing issues in the borough are
economic and small business recovery including the issues of rent control,
expanding open streets and restaurants and workers’ rights.
“Small businesses are the backbone, cultural hubs, and what make Queens
both a home and destination for all,” he said. “Everyone deserves fair wages
and workplace protection. We cannot have just recovery without worker
dignity. The economic divide in this city has squeezed working people out,
and the pandemic has only widened it.”
Maio is one of two Republican candidates running
for borough president. The Forest Hills-based
mapmaker previously ran for Queens Borough
President in 2020 but lost during the Republican
He moved to Queens in the 1980s from Taiwan
and then moved to Manhattan for a decade before
eventually returning to the borough.
In October 2020, Maio announced his bid for state Assembly against current Assemblyman
Thomas J. Zmich
The Republican candidate previously ran for office
in the 6th Congressional District. The candidate
worked for 35 years as a construction manager
before retiring and is also a veteran of the U.S. Army
Reserve where he served during the first Gulf War.
“Our current elected officials have forgotten that
they are supposed to represent the people, not their
own personal agenda. Taxpayers foot the bill for the failed policies they
implement. Combatting waste, fraud and abuse of our institutions along with
streamlining procedural processes is my priority,” Zmich told QNS.