One of politicians’ favorite go-to phrases is to say that this election year is the most important in your lifetime. It’s so cliche at this point that most voters tune out this rhetoric. But the 2018 election cycle is indeed one of the most important for residents of Queens. The current presidential administration is deeply out of touch with the policies and practices of Queens voters, and the one-party Republican rule in Congress has been a paltry check on the expanding powers of the office.
Tuesday’s Democratic primary elections are just the first step in these elections. The three competitive Queens races have featured necessary debates over the importance of experience versus new energy and ideas. No matter the outcome of Tuesday’s races, it is important for all Queens residents, including the losers of the primary elections and their supporters, to continue to be engaged in shaping the country we want to live in, participating by voting in all elections, volunteering and by taking an active role in shaping the future political landscape of our country.
The stakes are too high for residents to take a back seat.
14th Congressional District:
Crowley is right choice for Queens
In the 14th Congressional District, the obvious choice for voters is Rep. Joe Crowley, a seasoned political veteran with progressive credentials in line with the beliefs of voters who could potentially be speaker of the House in coming years if the Democrats take control.
Rep. Crowley is seeking reelection to his 11th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is being challenged by a bright rising star in Democratic politics—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This race has been a treat to close followers of politics as the two have outlined the competing visions about the path forward for progressive politics, both in policy and tactics.
Crowley has a proven record as a fighter for the district. He has been an outspoken critic of injustice, specifically on federal immigration policies put forth by the Trump administration. He has also put in two decades of work developing relationships on Capitol Hill that are invaluable in trying to enact meaningful change.
His opponent, Ocasio-Cortez, is passionate, talented and we have no doubt she would be a great representative in Congress. There are many empty suits and ineffective legislators currently in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, and she would be a welcome upgrade to the people who hold those seats. Her problem is that she is not running against one of those lawmakers. She is challenging an equally talented, passionate, progressive who has the advantage of years of experience and personal relationships that give him an advantage at effectively implementing positive change this country needs.
Both Rep. Crowley and Ocasio-Cortez are progressives who care deeply about the district. The truth is, that if you want to see this progressive agenda become a reality, Rep. Crowley is the better person to make it happen over the next two years, which is why he is the best pick in this race.
5th Congressional District:
Meeks Experience Rises To Top
Rep. Gregory Meeks faces two challengers in his Democratic primary contest, former NYPD detective and Army veteran Carl Achille and activist and Community Board 13 member Mizan Choudhury, both whom have suggested that Meeks has been in his office for too long and that the district needs a change.
We disagree with the mindset that change is necessary solely for the purpose of change. While both Achille and Choudhury bring important voices and perspectives to the political arena, including calls for bringing tech jobs to the district or more aggressively combating the opioid epidemic, neither candidate has the relevant experience needed to be a force for positive change in D.C. in the next two years.
Rep. Meeks has served in the U.S. Capitol for almost two decades, and in that time has established himself as a capable advocate for the 5th Congressional District and a righteous voice against injustice and inequality.
With Democrats holding a good chance to take control of the House, it’s in voters’ best interests to send Rep. Meeks back to D.C., where he will be well positioned to advocate for the district because of his seniority and experience.
12th Congressional District:
Maloney is a better choice than Patel
Rep. Carolyn Maloney has had a distinguished career as a public servant, delivering lots of money to her district for infrastructure projects, and being a powerful voice for progressive change in Congress. While her focus is often geared too closely to the issues impacting the Manhattan parts of the district, and we hope she gives more attention to many of the issues arising from the booming development in western Queens, Rep. Maloney is still the best candidate in this race.
Her opponent, Suraj Patel, is bright, passionate and clearly ambitious. His personal story as a first-generation Indian American and Obama campaign staffer and administration aide is the backbone of a compelling resume. For voters seeking a new generation of leaders in the Democratic Party, Patel fits the bill.
But, as Tip O’Neill famously said, all politics is local. Patel’s campaign has been too focused on national trends and he has failed to prove that he understands what is best for the district. If he had spent a little more time making meaningful connections in the Queens neighborhoods of the 12th Congressional District before launching his bid, he would have been a more formidable force in this race. Because he didn’t, we feel Rep. Maloney is the best bet because of her record of delivering financial support to New York City. We just hope more of that federal funding makes its way to the Queens neighborhoods in the next two years.