With state and federal offices up for grab in next week’s primary, some people may overlook some of the races on the bottom of the ballot line.
But, that doesn’t mean that races like those for district leader, which are up for grabs all over the borough, are not important
“There’s no question that they are more intense races now,” said Steven Stites of Stites Communications, who is a consultant for a number of campaigns throughout the states. “In many ways people see it as a stepping stone to get their name on the ballot, get a title and get relationships with leaders in their party.”
District leaders, which are volunteer positions, serve as the eyes and ears of the party in their neighborhoods. They work with local residents on quality of life issues, organize meetings in the community and advocate for their community’s interests to their elected official. In addition, they are also the people who vote for the party leaders.
In Flushing, two incumbent district leaders, Terrence Park and Julia Harrison, are facing primaries from a pair of political upstarts, S.J. Young and Mabel Law, respectively.
Stites believes that Park, who has lived in Flushing for 40 years and has served as a District Leader since 2004, will be tough to defeat in a year that is expected to be a low turnout election.
“When there is an issue in the community you can always bet that you are going to see his name there,” Stites said.
However, Stites said the Jung, who has some institutional support including the backing of City Comptroller John Liu, and significant money to spend on the race, can’t be counted out.
“He’s going to have to work twice as hard to win,” Stites said.
Meanwhile, in the female district leader’s race, Law, who left her position as Executive Director of the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID), is mounting a challenge against the former City Councilmember Harrison.
Stites believes that Harrison has the upper hand going into primary day, but he does not believe it will be a walk-over race.
“She’s beatable because I don’t think she’s going to be building any new inroads in the community,” he said.
DISTRICT LEADER RACES
Male District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 22 Part A
Male District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 22 Part B
Terrence Y Park
Male District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 35 Part A
Male District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 35 Part B
S Terry Lewis
James C. Lisa
Male District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 38 Part B
Harpreet Singh Toor
Female District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 22 Part B
Female District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 35 Part B
Jacqueline L. Evans
Barbara J. Jackson
Female District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 38 Part A
Elizabeth S. Crowley
Arlene M. LoMastro
Female District Leader – Democratic Leadership District 38 Part B