Mayor, women advocates endorse Moya in Council race
by Benjamin Fang
Aug 08, 2017 | 448 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Bill de Blasio has weighed in on a contentious City Council race in Queens.

The mayor endorsed Assemblyman Francisco Moya on Sunday in an appearance at the Antioch Baptist Church in Corona.

“Francisco Moya has spent years fighting for this community in the state legislature,” de Blasio said. “He has proven time and again his commitment to ensuring that every family has the tools they need to succeed, by working to expand access to affordable housing, supporting our public schools, and reforming our criminal justice system.”

Moya then endorsed de Blasio for re-election, citing his achievements such as universal pre-K, supporting the closing of Rikers Island, and paid sick leave.

“Our city has been fortunate to have Mayor Bill de Blasio at the helm these last four years,” Moya said. “On every issue facing this community, we have had a friend and ally in Mayor de Blasio.”

On Saturday, dozens of elected officials and women’s rights groups also rallied behind Moya to show support for his City Council bid.

The event, featuring endorsements from Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, served as a contrast to Moya’s main opponent in the race, Hiram Monserrate, who was convicted of attacking his girlfriend when he was in the State Senate.

“I’ve seen Francisco Moya grow into the leader he is today who can deliver for his neighbors,” said Velazquez, who previously employed Moya as a staffer in her Washington office. “Now more than ever, we need effective leadership to fight Trump extremism and deliver results for all women whose rights are under siege.”

Mark-Viverito, who with James served on the City Council with Monserrate, highlighted the assemblyman’s support for legislation to support domestic violence survivors, reproductive rights and gender pay equity.

She also called out her former colleague for his previous actions, including serving prison time for fraud.

“His reprehensible behavior towards women, his theft of taxpayer dollars and his alliance with Republicans make clear that he is a threat to our progressive values and decency in public service,” Mark-Viverito said.

Advocacy groups like Make the Road Action and the National Organization for Women (NOW)’s New York chapter also endorsed Moya.

Sonia Ossorio, NOW’s chapter president, called Moya “the clear choice in this race.”

“The community deserves a candidate that has earned the public’s trust and has the record to prove it. Francisco Moya is that candidate,” Ossorio said. “He has a strong and undeniable track record of supporting the issues that matter to women, and we can put our trust in him.

“Hiram Monserrate does not deserve to represent the people of Queens,” she added. “We must hold our elected officials to a bare minimum standard of respect for women and personal integrity, and Monserrate fails on both counts.”

The City Council race quickly winnowed down to two last week after three other candidates, Cristina Furlong, Yonel Letellier and Erycka Montoya, had their signature petitions challenged. Furlong and Montoya fell short on signatures to run, while Letellier did not properly state the office and district for his bid.

On August 1, after she was ruled ineligible to run, Montoya sent a scathing press release going after the Queens Democratic Party, led by Congressman Joseph Crowley, for their “legacy of bullying those who haven’t kissed the ring.”

“Today, I was on the receiving end of a baseless and cruel attack by the Queens Democratic Party, which has a reputation for disenfranchising new candidates,” she wrote. “But this is a new low, even for them, that should be alarming to potential candidates and proponents of fair and open government.”

Montoya said she fought against the court’s ruling invalidating her petitions, but the court “refused to hear my objections and dismissed me.” She called it a “grave and horrific injustice.”

“Their behavior in filing these frivolous objections and their behavior today during the hearing is nothing short of atrocious and undemocratic,” she said.

Montoya, who previously worked as a community liaison in the district, said she has met the obligations to run and her name “will be there come September 12, 2017.”

“I am writing this not only to inform you of my intentions, but to serve as a warning to others who choose to step and run for office to make their community a better place,” Montoya said. “Unless you kiss county’s ring, a well-paid legal hatchet man will come after you whether or not they have legal basis to do so.”

Monserrate, capitalizing on the invalidations, said he will donate to a fund created to help pay Montoya’s legal fees to support her right to “participate in the democratic process.”

“Why is Moya so threatened?” Monserrate said, calling the assemblyman the “legislator who doesn’t legislate.” “Let her run.”

“On behalf of our campaign, we wish them both well,” he added. “And on September 12, the voters will decide which man or women will represent the community.”

A Moya campaign spokesman said the assemblyman has secured “many times over” the required number of signatures to be on the ballot.

“This is the process that every candidate must follow to participate in our elections,” the spokesman said. “The Moya campaign is proud of our successful grassroots petitioning effort and the strong community support that it clearly demonstrates.”
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