Newly sworn-in Councilman Bob Holden has quietly stated that he will caucus with the Democrats in the City Council, despite his having run on the Republican line in the 2017 election.
Following a mayoral press conference on Monday regarding the city’s Vision Zero policy, Holden said he was told by the Democrats that he could caucus with them.
“I’ve been a lifelong Democrat,” he said.
In the two months since the election, Holden has repeatedly said that he would caucus with the party that would most benefit his constituency.
“I’m a novice at this,” Holden said, adding that he has been asking fellow council members advice as to with whom he should caucus.
With the Democrats consistently in control of the council, Holden could receive better committee appointments and be able to bring more funding to his district.
Queens County GOP Chairwoman Joann Ariola said that she would respect any decision that Holden made.
“Would we love to have him? Of course!” she said.
Both Ariola and Holden noted that if he were to change parties, it would not take effect until November.
In his first week as councilman, Holden stated at two public meetings that his district needs better public transportation. The mayor and Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia both said that they would improve transportation options for District 30. They also said they would consider traffic-calming measures in residential streets off major arteries that have become backed up due to Vision Zero improvements.
Holden reiterated to the Queens Tribune that he would not pursue former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s signature plan to create a light rail from Jamaica to Long Island City that passes through District 30 along the lower Montauk line. In the past, Holden has stated that it has too many at-grade crossings.