Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside
Jessica González-Rojas ★ Preferred Candidate
Occupation: Full-time Candidate
Education: Boston University, B.A.; New York University, M.P.A.
Candidate Website: https://www.votejgr.com/
Jessica González-Rojas has lived in Queens since 1999 and describes herself as a life-long activist working for social justice and liberation, particularly for people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ communities. She is running on a campaign of dignity, equality, and justice. She has held leadership positions on New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), Jackson Heights’ New Visions Democratic Club, New York City Transit Riders Council, and New York City Young Women’s Initiatives, and served as an adjunct professor at CUNY City College and NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. From 2002-2006 González-Rojas served as a New York State Democratic Committee Member. She prioritizes key issues including: disability rights, healthcare and reproductive justice, public transit and the environment, immigrant rights, early education/higher education reform, and criminal justice reform. González-Rojas dedicates a section of her platform to “People Powered Reforms,” which focuses on campaign finance and she advocates for increased voter turnout and civic engagement. Citizens Union was impressed by her proven dedication to the community and past accomplishments, as well as her captivating energy and thoughtfulness on a number of issues, particularly issues of importance to Citizens Union. If elected, we see her as a potential powerhouse in Albany. For these reasons, Citizens Union prefers González-Rojas in this race.
Occupation: Taxi Driver
Education: LaGuardia Community College, A.A.; York College, in progress
Candidate Website: https://www.joyfornys.com/
Joy Chowdhury immigrated to New York a decade ago from Bangladesh where he was born and raised. Chowdhury became a U.S. citizen in 2014 and now lives in the Woodside neighborhood of Queens, where he has been involved in various community organizing and advocacy efforts. Here he first worked at a perfume warehouse in Staten Island and then drove a taxi, which he continues to do, to support his family and put himself through college. While in college, he was elected president of the student government – representing 50,000 students in the CUNY system. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. Most recently, he served as a Community Liaison for City Council Member Costa Constantinides. Chowdhury believes that as a taxi driver/immigrant with a language barrier and no healthcare, he knows the community’s struggles most intimately and can best represent them in government. His top issues are immigrant rights, housing, workers’ rights (particularly those in the gig economy), education and healthcare for all, and criminal justice reform. He supports all items on Citizen Union’s questionnaire. Citizens Union was impressed by his energy and ability to build coalitions and while he has had an admirable career so far, he does not prioritize our campaign finance and ethics concerns. While Citizens Union does not prefer him in this race, we encourage him to continue dedicating his career to public service.
Nuala O’Doherty Naranjo
Education: St. John’s University, J.D.
Candidate Website: https://nualafor34.com/
Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo is a former prosecutor for the State of New York and long-time community activist. She has helped lead many local community groups, including: Jackson Heights Beautification Group, District 30’s Community Education Council, Queens Transportation Alternatives, and I.S. 230 and P.S. 222 PTAs among others. In the past, she has organized against the proposed LGA AirTrain and Queens Bus Network Redesign Plan, has advocated for greater community input in government, and has worked on numerous safer street and street beautification efforts. O’Doherty-Naranjo was impressive in both her accomplishments to date and her understanding of the issues – she was particularly passionate and knowledgeable about free and fair elections and campaign finance reform. While she is a proven, dedicated fighter for the community, O’Doherty-Naranjo has not received any major endorsements. Citizens Union does not prefer her in this race due to the strength of her opponent.
The candidate declined to return Citizen Union’s questionnaire.
The candidate could not be reached.