BY LUIS GRONDA
Melinda Katz will be the 19th Borough President of Queens.
The former councilwoman won the seat in a landslide victory on Tuesday night, dominating her two opponents with just over 80 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Tony Arcabascio came in a distant second, getting 17 percent overall.
It was a short and sweet celebration party for Katz at the Queens Democratic County headquarters in Forest Hills. She was headed to Brooklyn to celebrate what would be Bill de Blasio’s victory for Mayor at his election night party.
Just a few minutes after the polls closed, Katz showed up at her party to give her victory speech. She thanked all of her supporters and the people who worked on the campaign. Katz said the victory is a culmination of the work her parents did in the past. Her father, David, founded the Queens Symphony Orchestra in 1953 and her mother, Jeanne, was the founder of the Queens Council on the Arts.
“They taught me that this is a Borough worth fighting for, that this is a Borough that you never had to go under a bridge or over a tunnel, you should be able to get everything you want here,” she said. “They had opportunities all over the world and they chose to stay here in Queens.”
She added it is her job to work with her colleagues in the City Council, State Assembly and Senate so that more resources and money are brought back to the Borough.
“Because that is what we deserve here,” Katz said.
One of Katz’s first priorities will be to put together her staff that will work under her when she takes office. She said she is still considering a Deputy Borough President and she would announce a decision “within a few weeks.”
The outgoing Borough President, Helen Marshall, congratulated Katz at the party. She said she was elated for Katz to be taking her position and she is always available for advice if needed.
“I’m glad that Melinda is going to sit in my seat. I’ve got it all fixed up for you. Wait until you see that office, it’s pretty nice,” she jokingly said to Katz.
In another landslide victory, Bill de Blasio comfortably defeated Republican challenger Joe Lhota.
De Blasio garnered more than 73 percent of the vote. More than 1 million people voted in the mayoral election, with de Blasio getting 752,604 votes.
The crowd at the Brooklyn YMCA Armory in Park Slope erupted in joy multiple times throughout de Blasio’s speech.
“My fellow New Yorkers, today you spoke out loudly and clearly, for a new direction for our City, united by a belief that our City should leave no New Yorker behind,” he said.
De Blasio also said New York has taken a progressive path for its future and their work has only begun.
During his concession speech in Manhattan, Lhota said he called and congratulated de Blasio for his victory, adding that they have as many similarities as much as differences.
“We are five boroughs, but we are one City, one people and we want our City to move forward, not backward,” Lhota said.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.