Melinda Katz wins election to become next Queens borough president

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Melinda Katz will be the next Queens borough president. THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen
Melinda Katz will be the next Queens borough president.

Former legislator Melinda Katz will be the next Queens borough president.

“We sent a message from the moment I announced my candidacy that we are a borough of diversity, and that is an asset,” Katz said. “It is not a flaw in the borough of Queens and the City of New York.”

The Democrat and heavy favorite in the race trounced her two challengers Tuesday with 80.3 percent, according to unofficial results, as 96 percent of precincts were reporting.

Republican Tony Arcabascio netted 17.1 percent and third-party candidate Everly Brown, who came in last in the Democratic primary, took in 2.6 percent on the Jobs & Education line, early tallies showed.

The seat was held by Helen Marshall since 2001. The longtime incumbent and borough’s first black president is term-limited this year.

She endorsed Katz, who served in the Assembly and City Council and was the director of community boards for former Borough President Claire Schulman.

Katz will be the 19th Queens borough president.

“Every borough president has their own way about them,” Katz said. “I’m excited about the future. Helen Marshall has served this borough for over 30 years as a public official, 20 years before that as a civil rights advocate and an educator. I will continue her work, but I also have my own priorities and I look forward to working for those.”

As results trickled in on election night, the Forest Hills mom of two was surrounded by supporters at her victory party held at the Queens Democratic Party’s headquarters on Austin Street.

“We have had a whole gamut of support,” she said, attributing her victory in major part to the County organization. “I am extremely excited to be the next borough president. I’m glad the people of Queens put faith into my candidacy, and I will be very grateful to them.”

The strong finish was anticipated this time, unlike the grueling September primary election Katz faced against Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

In the contentious race, Katz ended up beating the longtime Astoria lawmaker by about 13,000 votes, according to official Board of Elections results.

Katz said her Borough Hall plans include making the Rockaway ferry permanent and creating a hotline for storm victims to get up-to-date information on the rebuilding process.

She also said she will push for more primary and urgent care facilities, expand tax incentives for new or expanding businesses that hire locally and fund the growth of 1,000 more trees.

Katz said it her job to “make sure that we not only get equal assets here in Queens, but we bring more money back to the borough of Queens because that is what we deserve here.”

With additional reporting by Terence M. Cullen