Melinda Katz was elected on Nov. 5, 2013 after winning both the Democratic primary and general election last year. Katz replaced 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 was 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.
The current Borough President then got a taste of the office, serving as Director of Community Boards under Marshall’s predecessor, Claire Shulman. Among her duties during that time were to plan economic development projects for the Borough and designate 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 Land Use Committee in the Council, creating more than 15,000 units of affordable housing during that time. She also petitioned for zoning measures that paved the way for many redevelopment projects in all five Boroughs.
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 continuing 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 with her partner, Curtis Sliwa, who is also a radio personality and founder of the Guardian Angels. They are raising two children, Carter and Hunter, in the same home Melinda grew up in during her youth.