Incumbent Queens District Leader Runs Again Without Party's Support
JACKSON HEIGHTS — A two-term Queens district leader is running again without the support of her party — after she said she was shunned for bucking the Democratic party's pick last year for City Council speaker.
Jessica Ramos, 29, has served as Democratic district leader in the 39th Assembly District, which covers parts of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, for the past four years.
But she said after in the wake of her decision to support City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito last year for speaker — while the Queens Democrats backed Daniel Garodnick — Assemblyman Francisco Moya and the Queens Democrats opted instead to back Yanna Henriquez, a Corona resident and program director for the Dominico-American Society of Queens, for her seat.
"It's just the only thing that I can think of — that they wouldn't agree with on my political stance," said Ramos, who works as the communications director for Build Up NYC and lives in Jackson Heights. She added that she hasn't been given an explanation from the party about their decision. "Nobody said anything to me."
The unpaid elected position is one of four that represent the district, consisting of two men and two women. The other current district leaders are State Sen. Jose Peralta and City Councilman Danny Dromm. The fourth seat had been filled by Julissa Ferreras, but has remained empty since she became a city councilwoman.
Moya's chief of staff, Meghan Tadio, said their decision was nothing personal against Ramos, instead explaining that they're trying "to space out where the representation comes from."
Redistricting, which will go into effect next January, has put more of Corona into the district — and Henriquez would represent the area well, Tadio said.
"This was completely about representing the community," she said. "[Henriquez] has been in the community for over 10 years, working tirelessly on the ground."
An email to Henriquez's campaign account was not immediately returned.
Ramos said she's helped "spark important conversations among neighbors about justice and equality, sustainability and our quality of life" and hopes to continue to work on affordability issues and improve traffic safety in the neighborhood, she said.
Ramos is running without party support but received endorsements from unions and Democratic clubs, including the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500.
Voters can choose during the primary, which will be held Sept. 9.