Tag Archive: District Leader

Sep 04 2014

Vote Ramos for District Leader

JessicaRamos

Vote Ramos Sept. 9th.

UPDATE: Due to legal action, Jessica Ramos has dropped her bid for District leader. Her name will not appear on the September ballot.

District leaders are the rock of the Democratic Party, you’d be lucky to have one like Jessica Ramos in your community.

A good District leader is the first point of contact on the ground level with voters. The position is one of four that represent assembly districts in Queens, consisting of two men and two women.

No, they aren’t paid positions, they are strictly volunteers, but the best of which harness their energy and activism and do something productive  that helps improve the quality of life of people in their district. District Leaders don’t even introduce legislation on the floor, but they can lobby for it, and the title often lends a bit of credibility to their particular cause.

District leaders typically do not have a one size fits all characteristic, rather individuals make of it what they can. Some District leaders make a positive difference in their communities, or become labor leaders, even a steam valve for the entire neighborhood, while others don’t even seem to live in their district, or are appointed in absentia.

Take for example, Jessica Ramos, a Cornell graduate, who, at 29, for the past four years has served as a model Democratic District leader in the 39th Assembly District Part A which covers parts of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. 

Ramos is a labor leader, an advocate for women, a community organizer, she’s fought for immigration reform and LGBT rights, and she’s even worked on historic elections, but for whatever reason, Ramos is running without party support.

Despite carrying her own petition, Ramos received numerous endorsements from unions and Democratic clubs – like one of the largest in central Queens, The New Visions Democratic Club —  including the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500. So to some people, you’ll always be District leader, even if you had to carry your own petition.

For her remarkable independence, her resolve in the face of adversity, and her genuine commitment to Queens County, Queens-Politics proudly endorses Jessica Ramos for District leader.

Political parties tend to shy away from costly District leader primaries, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But once you do win, with or without Party support, you’re back in, and within two years you’re running on the slate again (hopefully doing the right thing in your neighborhood).

The point is, if you know a Jessica Ramos in your neighborhood, please vote for her on September 9th, it will be the best decision you’ve made in a long time.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/09/vote-jessica-ramos-for-district-leader/

Mar 13 2014

Queens Leaders Ready Serve In New Roles

250px-Peter_F._Vallone_Jr.

Peter Vallone Jr.

A good day for Queens.

Former City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and labor leader Rebecca Lynch were selected to once again serve in the halls of government.

Vallone, who was term-limited this year in the Astoria based Council district, will serve in the Cuomo administration as a special assistant to the state’s corrections commissioner, and Rebecca Lynch of Glen Oaks will serve in Mayor de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit.

Lynch, a former District Leader in northeast Queens, gave up the post this week as her role in the de Blasio administration becomes more clear in time, according to the Politicker.

Role reversal?

lynch

Rebecca Lynch

Both Lynch and Vallone have a long history of community service. Ironically, the former City Councilman will now work with Albany, and the former state party District Leader will now serve inside City Hall.

Congratulations to both and best of luck.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/03/queens-leaders-ready-serve-in-new-roles-lynch-vallone/

Aug 23 2013

Vazquez Gears Up For General Election

Martha

We’re sure Vazquez will run a spirited campaign on the issues, but for her the real fight looms next year.

Long-time Democratic activist and District Leader Martha Flores Vazquez is once again making news.

Vasquez, who has successfully defeated the Queens County Democratic Organization and powerful political figures to maintain her district leadership, is now seeking an uphill fight in a city council race against powerful incumbent Peter Koo.

Those who know Vasquez as a savvy political operative and good government advocate know that she has little to no chance of defeating Peter Koo but Vazquez felt that all elected officials should have an election in November especially when it comes to electing candidates to a 4-year term.

Sources close to the Queens Democratic Party say Vazquez is crazy like a fox. While she knows her chances at victory are slim, Vazquez is keeping her name recognition high and campaigning to take a second bite at the apple for state assembly while maintaining her district leadership post.

Vazquez will be running on the Independent Jobs and Education ballot, line D in the general election.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/martha-flores-vazquez-gears-up-for-general-election/

Dec 18 2012

Taylor Considered Frontrunner For Party Endorsement

District Leader Martha Taylor is widely considered the frontrunner for the Party nod.

Joe Crowley will visit Rory Lancman’s announcement tonight, but it’s District Leader Martha Taylor who has the one up when it comes to the Party’s endorsement for City Council District 24, according to insiders.

Ask any activist in the community and they will most assuredly recognize her name. Taylor, who worked in the Comptroller’s office as the Director of Affirmative Claims from 2002-2011 (and is currently an attorney by trade), has a distinguished record of community service that is well-known by constituents  and among political circles.

During her run in 2009, early support from big political dynamos was recognized here and will likely continue into 2013. The endorsement is likely to go to Taylor considering her opponent, Rory Lancman, has fallen into disfavor with the Party as key decision makers will recall his insurgent (and costly) primary against Congresswoman Grace Meng.

Since her run for Jim Gennaro’s seat in 2009, Taylor made the most of out of her Democratic District Leader position (24th A.D Part A) by aiding constituents and being a central figure in civic activism. Her visibility in the comunity is aided in part by her work experience in the Mayor’s Community Affair’s unit under the Dinkin’s administration.

Isaac Sasson is also expected to announce a run, but it is not likely he will be considered for the endorsement.

Years of coalition building, and a very helpful Party nod, might bring her one step closer to victory for Jim Gennaro’s term limited Council seat in 2013.

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* Note: Martha Taylor did not run against Jim Gennaro in 2009. A committee was filed, but was later dissolved. 

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/12/martha-taylor-considered-frontrunner-for-party-endorsement/

Sep 20 2012

Absentee ballots could deliver a victory for Martha Flores Vazquez

Martha could still take the cake.

Tomorrow is the official count of absentee ballots and nobody is more excited than Martha Flores Vazquez who is anticipating a victory for the District Leader post in AD 40 Part B located in Flushing.

While Vazquez lost her bid for Grace Meng’s vacated Assembly seat with just 521 votes, hope is not lost for the longtime community service advocate whose name appeared on the ballot for two different offices.

Unofficial results were not available to the public according to the BOE and will not be made available until next week however, unofficial tallies indicate with 862 votes for the District Leader position, Vazquez could find the extra four votes she needs to win with 316 absentee ballots and 50 emergency ballots yet to be counted.

“I believe the absentees will go in my favor because of my name recognition,” said Vazquez. “In the meantime, I’ve jumped right back on track with working and dealing with the issues.  I’m dedicating myself to the community because for the past two years the District Leader has been absent…she’s just a district leader by title and people don’t like that, the people are upset because she doesn’t do any outreach. She doesn’t do anything.”

Ironically, Vazquez said she was already sent a letter requesting her presence to a special meeting hosted by the Democratic Party normally reserved for elected officials.

On Primary Day voters may have been confused. Vazquez made it on the ballot for both Assembly and District Leader slots, which she believes confused voters as to which office they were actually voting her in for. The total of her votes for both Assembly and District Leader surpass those of the winning Assembly candidate Ron Kim, a   sort of a feather in her cap.

While the election has yet to be certified, Vazquez remains confident.

“Technicality she [Vazquez] got more votes than every candidate that ran and a lot were not duplicates – they voted for one or the other,” according to a source familiar with the situation.

Martha believes a strong electorate builds strong communities.

Yet low turnout still defined the races in AD 40. According to Vazquez, there was confusion and irregularities at the poll sites that may have contributed to the low turnout.

“A lot of people didn’t want to go to their new poll site and names weren’t found in the book, but I made it a point during my campaign to inform people of their new poll site to the best of my ability even though we didn’t get the new list until 4 days before the election.”

Throughout the campaign Vazquez worked with community residents whom would not be able to make it to the polls with a strong absentee ballot drive and many of the absentees informed Vazquez that they voted for her.

“In the future I will do voter education for people to understand and I wont make that mistake again and will be picking one office instead of two.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/09/absentee-ballots-could-deliver-a-victory-for-martha-flores-vazquez/

May 31 2012

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/

Nov 23 2011

A Former McCarthy Era Operative Gloats

Xenophobia, the fear of people who are different from one’s self.

A highly illuminating article courtesy of the Daily News. This report explores the dynamics between a longtime district leader and her political rival in Flushing.

Julia Harrison is a former City Council Member. She has some harsh comments for John Liu.

Foreword: Harrison is best known for blaming the asian population for increased crime, higher real estate prices, and displacing old timers.

Her comments became the hallmark of Harrison’s political career.

The publicized slip blew up in her face as a protest took  place on the steps of City Hall.

In 1996 the protest was led by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Governor George Pataki who joined more that 2,000 Asian-Americans and civic leaders to rebuke Ms. Harrison for her published comments.

In response, Harrison who is now 91, stood before her colleagues in the Council’s chamber and read an empty apology. She never meant to insult immigrants, she was misunderstood. But it’s par for the course considering Harrison is part of the old guard –  a dwindling bloc of grey haired voters who resist any type of change in a neighborhood that is predominantly asian.

Despite the controversy, Harrison ran for reelection and won another term as Councilwoman until she was eventually term limited out of office in 2001.

Since then, deep wounds have festered in the underworld of Queens politics and while her opponent is weak, Julia has returned  for a moment in the limelight.

During the last election, turnout was abysmal. But to Harrison’s credit, she pulled her base out to the polls.

As the newly minted elected District Leader, she’s feeling her oats.

Best Quote,

“If you survive long enough in the murky world of Queens politics you will see your fortunes change.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/a-former-mccarthy-operative-gloats/

Oct 17 2011

Lew Simons of The World Getting Attention

Hon. Lew Simon. Democratic District Leader 23rd A.D. Part B, best known for chasing raccoons says he will keep the mustache at all costs. This is an important man.

Shocking: Democratic clubs with ten members get to choose Mayoral Candidate.

Who’s canoodling for attention these days? I’ll tell you. The following ‘candidates’ are competing for Queens party boss Joe Crowley’s attention – and to a lesser degree Brooklyn party boss Vito Lopez.

How are they doing it? Visiting local Democratic Clubs, flirting with District Leaders, even the one’s with a few screws loose, according to insiders.

District Leaders heavily influence the Democratic party’s nomination process. In Queens, it’s tantamount to election. Political hopefuls, or more often than not, party insiders get the endorsement, which some call a corronation. Many of these clubs barely qualify as clubs. It’s pathetic, but standard procedure.

It’s that time of year. So expect a visit from these candidates at your local political club.

For those of you in multiple clubs expect to hear the same speech.

Here they are:

  1. Quinn
  2. Liu
  3. Thompson
  4. Avella
  5. de Blasio

“Joe Crowley will need disinfectant because everyone will be kissing his ring.”

What is a District Leader?

A District leader is an unpaid elected party position. District Leaders often arise from political clubs. Each Assembly District has a male and female post and they serve for two years. Republicans too. Sometimes it’s a patronage post (have this so you stop crying about wanting to run when we already picked someone) and sometimes it’s a springboard for higher office. It’s like getting your foot in the door. DL’s reward loyalty by hiring poll workers. Some DL’s are more vocal and do great things for the community while others have questionable residencies. Generally I see them as little party whips. They play a role for endorsements during campaign season, help elected judges, and are generally political insiders.

For a great article on the duties of a District Leader read M. Burgo’s blog post on How To Pick A District Leader.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/lew-simons-of-the-world-getting-attention/


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