June 21, 2022 By Christian Murray
The list of progressives getting behind the candidacy of Kristen Gonzalez for the new state senate seat that incorporates western Queens continues to grow.
Gonzalez, who is running for the newly-drawn 59th District seat that includes Long Island City and Astoria, was officially endorsed today by State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Councilmember Lincoln Restler and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
They join a long list of progressives who are backing her campaign, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, State Sen. Julia Salazar, Assemblymembers Emily Gallagher and Zohran Mamdani, as well as Councilmember Tiffany Cabán.
The seat covers western Queens as well Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn; and Stuyvesant Town and Kips Bay in Manhattan.
“Western Queens should continue having a progressive fighter in the State Senate, and Kristen Gonzalez is that person,” said Gianaris, 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. She’s the colleague I need in Albany, and I hope that my friends and former constituents in the new District 59 support her.”
Gianaris’ current senate district is undergoing significant change due to redistricting. Next year, the 12th senate district will no longer cover Astoria and Long Island City—instead, it will be more centered on Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth and sections of Ridgewood and Elmhurst.
Gonzalez, a community organizer and tech worker who lives in Long Island City, announced her run for state senate in February, recruited by the Democratic Socialists of America. She has gained more than 30 endorsements to date.
She was raised in Elmhurst by a single mother from Puerto Rico, where she got a scholarship to a private high school on the Upper East Side.
The experience, she says, navigating working-class Queens and upper-class Manhattan prompted her to fight for social justice, from working in the Obama White House to organizing campaigns against Amazon and for climate action.
“I’m proud to support another young, progressive Latina and Puerto Rican like Kristen Gonzalez for District 59,” said Velázquez, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. “Kristen has been in these neighborhoods building the working-class, multiracial coalition we need fighting for us in Albany, and I’m so excited to work with her to represent Brooklyn and Queens in our districts.”
Gonzalez is running against several opponents, including former councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.
Crowley, a moderate, has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Organization, Congressman Gregory Meeks as well as elected officials across Queens—including State Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assembly Members Jenifer Rajkumar, David Weprin, Andrew Hevesi as well as Councilmember Lynn Schulman and former councilmember Danny Dromm.
Another contender is Nomiki Konst, a podcaster and media personality who launched her campaign on June 1.
Konst is also a progressive and her campaign has angered many on the left, since her critics argue that she will split the progressive vote. She jumped into the race after the district was redrawn by a court-appoint special master last month that included Astoria where she lives.
Other candidates include Greenpoint resident Françoise Olivas, a progressive, and Josh Bowen, a moderate. Meanwhile, Mike Corbett, a Manhattan resident who worked for Costa Constantinides when he was in the council, has also announced.
Many of Gonzalez’ endorsers represent neighborhoods that are part of the 59th Senate District. These include Restler who represents north Brooklyn in the city council.
“Greenpoint and Williamsburg need a progressive leader with the courage to stand up for our community against corporate and fossil fuel interests,” Restler said. “I’m proud to announce my endorsement for Kristen Gonzalez because I know she has the courage and experience fighting for her neighbors.”