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May 31 2012

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Meet the ‘Real District Leader’ of Flushing

She’s back (but she never left).

Martha Flores Vazquez wants to be your next Assembly woman and she has the grassroots support to rival any potential challengers.

Vazquez, who has lived in the 22nd Assembly District (now the 40th) for 34 years, got her start in politics as an activist. She climbed the ropes of local politics to become District leader in 2002. Since then she has been busy building a resume of public service.

Vazquez is not a politician; she is a people person. She earned her Masters in Psychology from CUNY, and her professional experience working at a social service agency helps her to understand the inner dynamics of the neighborhood she seeks to represent.

“For me the candidates haven’t been in the district long enough. They claim a lot but in reality they are not known in the community – they disappear then reappear during election. There has to be consistency when you’re serving a community.” she said.

Vazquez has earned a reputation as a mediator, a steam valve, a shoulder to cry on. Most recently she has been in negotiation with the landlords of a building in Flushing to ensure handicap accessibility. During the week, she can be seen at all the community functions and civic meetings.

Her political tenure has not always been a slam dunk. In 2010, Vasquez was thrown off the ballot for a technicality. After receiving the support of 3,200 signatures on her petitions, the word ‘female’ was missing on the petition and the Board of Elections rendered the signatures invalid.

 

Every year at her birthday party, Martha's friends and supporters buy her a cake with the inscription, "Martha, the Real District Leader."

It was a minor setback but it did not stop Vazquez from her volunteerism. In the eyes of friends and neighbors she will always be the official District leader.

“Even though I was thrown off due to a technicality – the community still treats me as a District leader,” said Vasquez. “And I return that respect by putting others before myself.”

Vasquez will run for the 40th Assembly District in an open seat if Grace Meng – who has not ruled out running for Assembly – wins the race for the sixth Congressional District. Vasquez has already filed a committee.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/05/the-district-leader-who-fought-back/


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