She was elected on Nov. 5, 2013 after winning both the Democratic Party primary and the general election. Katz replaces former Borough President Helen Marshall, who held the position from 2002 until 2013.
Katz has gathered a wealth of experience from her other stops in elected office.
She served in the State Assembly from 1994 to 1999, representing Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village and Glendale. During her time there, she wrote and passed 16 laws including Kendall’s Law, which helps prosecutors pursue long-term and repeated cases of child abuse. She was also Chair of the Assembly’s Urban Health Sub-Committee.
After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1998, the current Borough President then got a taste of the office she currently holds, serving as director of Community Boards under Marshall’s predecessor, Claire Shulman, from 1999 through 2001. Among her duties during that time were planning economic development projects for the Borough and designating sites for city facilities.
Katz was elected to the City Council, representing Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, South Elmhurst and Richmond Hill from 2002 to 2009. She was Chair of the coveted Land Use Committee in the Council, creating over 15,000 units of affordable housing during that time. She also petitioned for zoning measures that paved for many redevelopment projects in all five Boroughs.
After unsuccessfully running for City Comptroller in 2009, she left politics for a few years, working at a law firm called Greenberg Traurig, which specializes in land use and government affairs.
Katz returned to public life in 2013, when she announced her bid for Queens Borough President. Her campaign focused on promising to bring more resources and money back to Queens as well as continue to boost the emerging arts and technology scene in western Queens.
During her speeches, she always remembers what her parents did in Queens and thanks them for what they did in the Borough. Her father, David, founded and conducted the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Jeanne, her mother, created the Queens Council for the Arts.
Katz lives in Forest Hills, where she is raising two children, Carter and Hunter, in the same home Melinda grew up in.