June 27, 2022 By Christian Murray
Elizabeth Crowley, a former councilmember who lost a tight borough president race against Donovan Richards last year, has been endorsed by two big teachers unions in her quest to represent the 59th Senate District.
Crowley, who classifies herself as a liberal Democrat, has been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers and the New York State United Teachers as she looks to snag the new senate seat that was created in mid-May by a court-appoint special master, which covers Long Island City, Astoria, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and parts of Manhattan.
The Queens native is among the more moderate Democratic candidates in the six-person race, where she is pitted against progressives such as Kristen Gonzalez, Nomiki Konst and Françoise Olivas. Others in the race include Josh Bowen and Mike Corbett.
“Elizabeth Crowley is the experienced leader we need leading our students and schools,” Michael Mulgrew, UFT’s president, said. “As a City Council Member, she addressed the overcrowding problem in her district by building new schools. She increased the budget for our classroom teachers and for our most vulnerable students, she also expanded UFT services into the community by providing wrap-around social services.”
Crowley was a city council member from 2009 to 2017, representing District 30 that covers Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood. She was unseated by Robert Holden.
If elected, Crowley said that she would make sure that New York delivers for its students.
As a councilmember, Crowley said she addressed school overcrowding in her district by building more than 6,000 new seats, including two new high school campuses.
If elected to the senate, Crowley said she would “fight for more education funding, smaller class sizes, and for programs that meet our students’ needs.”
Crowley has now been endorsed by more than two dozen unions. In addition to the UFT and NYSUT, she has been endorsed by the Transport Workers Union and AFSCME District Council 37.
She has the backing of several elected officials across Queens—including Rep. Gregory Meeks, State Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assembly Members Jenifer Rajkumar, David Weprin and Andrew Hevesi. She is backed by Councilmember Lynn Schulman and former councilmember Danny Dromm.
Crowley, who got within a percentage point of unseating Queens Borough President Donovan Richards last year, ran as a moderate and criticized Richards for his efforts to reduce the NYPD budget when he was in the city council.
She also said she would have backed Amazon coming to Long Island City.
Gonzalez, a political newcomer, is the other candidate in the race to have a long list of endorsements.
Her backers include Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Nydia Velázquez; Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso; State Senators Mike Gianaris and Julia Salazar; Assemblymembers Emily Gallagher and Zohran Mamdani; as well as Councilmember Tiffany Cabán.
Last week Gianaris announced that Gonzalez is his pick.
“Western Queens should continue having a progressive fighter in the State Senate, and Kristen Gonzalez is that person,” Gianaris said, who currently represents the Astoria and Long Island City areas that have been folded into the newly-formed District 59 seat created via redistricting.
“She’ll be a reliable partner in helping to tackle the climate crisis and stand up to powerful moneyed interests,” Gianaris said, whose senate district has been redrawn to include more of central Queens. “She’s the colleague I need in Albany, and I hope that my friends and former constituents in the new District 59 support her.”
Crowley says that her own experience in elected office is what’s needed at this time. The former councilmember said she is on the only candidate in the race who has served in public office before.
“We are facing incredibly difficult and challenging times now,” she said. “Leadership and experience matter more and more.”
The primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.