Costa Constantinides is making history and will now serve the community he has called home his whole life.
The lifelong Astoria resident has been elected to fill Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in City Council District 22 and represent Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, he won the race with 66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
“The voters have spoken,” said Constantinides. “I feel very humbled about the weight of what this means and the faith the people of this district have put in me.”
His win marks the first time since 1974 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the seat in District 22. Before current Councilmember and term-limited Peter Vallone Jr. was elected to represent the district, his father, former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. held the seat.
Constantinides celebrated his victory together with his wife, four-year old son, family, friends and supporters as the Democratic winner in the general election on November 5 at Raven’s Head Public House in Astoria. He was also joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker.
“I’m looking forward to representing each and every one of the 160,000 constituents of this district and making sure that government works for them and that they have a voice in City Hall that is going to fight for them every single day,” he said. “That’s why I decided to run for City Council.”
According to Constantinides, he is the first Greek American to be elected into the City Council.
In September, Constantinides took the win against attorney John Ciafone and longtime Community Board 1 member Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas in the democratic primary.
In 2009, he was elected to serve as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A. He also served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember James F. Gennaro where he assisted on key legislation.
Some of the main areas Constantinides hopes to address when taking the seat in January are better environmental protection including reducing traffic congestion, expanding open space and investing in clean energy. He also hopes to improve schools for the children in his district and plans to clean up the streets, by prioritizing the increase of corner garbage pickups and funding a street sweeping program like the Doe Fund.
“The things that we talked about resonated in this campaign and I feel we have a mandate now to get those things accomplished,” he said.
Constantinides was running against Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe, Independent Danielle De Stefano and Populist Party candidate Gerald Kann.
“I’m looking forward to fighting for the people in this district,” said Constantinides. “The next step is to go out there and start fighting.”