June 27, 2016 By Christian Murray
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, who has represented Sunnyside, Long Island City, Ridgewood and parts of Astoria for more than 30 years, is running for her office again.
Nolan was elected to the Assembly in 1984 and was one of the youngest women to be elected in New York at the time.
Since being in the Assembly she has chaired a number of legislative committees including Labor, Banks, Real Property, Mass Transit and the bicameral, bipartisan Women’s Caucus. Nolan was the first woman to chair the Labor Committee and currently serves on the Ways and Means, Rules, Corporations and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and chairs the Education Committee.
Nolan sought to take the speakership role in 2015 after Sheldon Silver was unceremoniously removed as a result of Federal corruption charges.
“In my 30 year Assembly career I have conducted myself with honesty and integrity,” Nolan stated in her candidacy announcement for Speaker.
At the time, she also noted the significance of a female Speaker candidate.
“A woman has never served as Speaker of the Assembly,” she said, adding that she would have little tolerance for legislators who sexually harassed their staffers.
Nolan was also the lead Assembly sponsor on the bill to bring paid family leave to New York State.
“Passing Paid Family Leave in the Assembly for many years helped set the stage for its inclusion in the 2016 state budget,” Nolan said. “Seeing it signed into law was very gratifying.”
She recently announced her opposition to the loosening of construction height limitations in New York City, a Mayor Bill de Blasio-led push that could potentially lead to bigger buildings that requires State legislation.
She has voiced opposition to the Phipps development in Sunnyside and is skeptical of de Blasio’s Sunnyside Yards proposal, both of which would ultimately be decided by the City Council.
However, she has not publicly put forward a position on Move NY’s plan to introduce tolls at various City crossings such as the Queensboro Bridge. This plan must be passed by the State and was introduced as an Assembly bill in March.
Nolan appears to be running unopposed in the Democrat primary that is being held on Sept. 13. No other candidate has publicly announced, although the filing deadline is July 14.
Assembly candidates must submit 500 signatures from registered Democrats before July 14 to run in the primary.
Nolan, at this point, has little money on hand.
Nolan’s only active campaign fund, Nolan 2016, had a balance of $1,727 in January 2016 – the date of the last report – according to New York State Board of Elections documents.
She has faced a rival in previous general elections. Nolan ran against John K. Wilson, who ran as a Libertarian in 2014, and beat him convincingly.
Wilson ran on a platform calling for term limits.
“Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said during the last campaign. “I want to put an end to career politicians.”
“The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” Wilson said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.”
In announcing her reelection campaign, Nolan said that her record includes renovated subway stations, including the elevated structure along the 7 line.
She said that she has fought for better and more accessible bus service.
Nolan’s record also includes supporting the creation and expansion of Gantry Plaza State Park and renovations at Sunnyside, Astoria, Court Square and Ridgewood library branches.
She said she has funded many improvements and programs for LaGuardia Community College. She also said she has lead the fight to build new schools in western Queens and eliminate overcrowded trailers.
Best known for her current leadership of the Assembly Education Committee, Nolan has conducted meetings and school visits that focus on children, teachers, school leaders and parents. This committee, one of the largest in the legislature, handles the budget for the education of millions of children pre K-12.