Tag Archives: deputy borough president

Comrie bids farewell to deputy BP seat, gears up for state Senate

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Borough President Melinda Katz’s office

Leroy Comrie has been serving Queens as deputy borough president for about a year, but he’s getting ready to return to an arena he’s more familiar with.

He is starting his bid as the new state senator of the 14th District of Queens covering Jamaica, Queens Village, St. Albans and Hollis. Borough President Melinda Katz and her staff said goodbye to Comrie last week and praised him for the work he did there.

Katz mentioned his tireless work ethic on behalf of the people of Queens and thanked Comrie for his wise counsel during her first year as borough president. She also mentioned that she believes he will do an outstanding job for his new, smaller group of constituents.

Comrie served as a public figure in southeast Queens from 2002-2013 as councilman for the 27th District, which covers St. Albans, Jamaica, Hollis and Cambria Heights. In 2013, he ran for the borough president’s seat in Queens but later dropped out. When Katz won her seat she hired him as the second-in-command as the deputy borough president, a position he held until his nomination for state Senate in April.

Comrie defeated incumbent state Sen. Malcolm Smith, whose political career took a turn for the worse after he was hit with federal charges for trying to bribe his way into the 2013 mayoral election as a Republican candidate. Comrie defeated Smith in the September primary for the Senate seat and ran unopposed in the November general election.

Comrie, a Democrat, will take his seat in the Republican-controlled state Senate as of Jan. 1. The 63-seat branch of the Legislature will now house 32 Republicans and 31 Democrats, making it more challenging for Democrats like Comrie to press their agenda in Albany.

Comrie’s commute to work — he’ll now have to travel to Albany when the Legislature is in session — is only one of several trade-offs he’ll make by going from the borough president’s office to the Senate. He’ll take a hit in the pocketbook too, trading his $135,000 deputy borough president salary for the base salary of $79,500 as a state senator.



Comrie defeats state Sen. Malcolm Smith in landslide

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Leroy Comrie is the de facto next state senator for District 14 after besting incumbent Malcolm Smith in the Democratic primary.

There is no Republican candidate for the seat in the upcoming November election.

Comrie, who previously represented part of the district on the City Council, ousted Smith, who is awaiting trial on federal corruption charges, in a landslide victory, earning 69.4 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

“I’m excited about being able to serve [District 14] in the state Senate. I was overwhelmed by the reaction from the community,” Comrie said. “It’s a gratifying win. It’s a real testament to the power of the community.”

Political supporters, such as Councilman Daneek Miller and Borough President Melinda Katz, were at Comrie’s victory party to cheer him on.

Most recently, Comrie was the deputy borough president under Katz; he stepped down to run in the District 14 primary.

Smith, who has represented the district for over a decade, was indicted for allegedly trying to bribe his way into a GOP nomination for mayor.

The trial was thrown into turmoil when prosecutors produced hours of audiotapes — many in Yiddish — that Smith’s lawyers claimed would bolster his defense.
The judge declared a mistrial and a new trial is set for January.

But Smith’s tainted reputation was enough to sway several elected officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President Melinda Katz, to endorse Comrie over Smith.

“I’m going to do my best to be an effective legislator,” Comrie noted. “I really have to get going and make sure that the residents of the 14th District can have the things they need in the budget starting in January. [District 14] means home to me.”



Katz names Leroy Comrie as deputy borough president

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Borough President-elect Melinda Katz has tapped a former primary election foe to be her right-hand man.

Katz named outgoing Councilmember Leroy Comrie as deputy borough president and Jay Bond, a former longtime aide, as chief of staff on December 3.

“From the beginning, this campaign was about empowering working families and making life better for every Queens resident,” Katz said in a statement. “Jay’s years of experience in the public and private sectors and Leroy’s long history of leadership in Queens will be essential as we build the most open, inclusive and transparent transition in Queens history.”

Bond served 10 years with Katz as her senior policy advisor in the City Council.

Comrie ran against Katz this year in the crowded race for Borough Hall, but dropped his bid in July “due to personal matters.”

The southeast Queens representative was locked in a heated Democratic primary battle with Katz, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and State Senator Tony Avella, who also later exited.

“He’s a good man, and Queens is lucky to have him,” Vallone told The Courier.

Avella declined to comment.

Comrie, first elected in 2002, was serving his final term in the City Council this year due to term limits.

He was rumored to exit the race late in May, when the Queens County Democratic Party and several leaders in Comrie’s district, including the Reverend Floyd Flake, endorsed Katz.

“Now more than ever, Queens needs Melinda’s vision for a more prosperous and equitable borough,” Comrie said upon his appointment. “Over the 20 years I’ve spent working with her, Melinda has proven herself a tireless and honest public servant with a real plan to move our borough forward.”

“That’s why I’m thrilled to assist her administration, and work tirelessly over the coming weeks to ensure Queens residents are represented by the best possible team in Borough Hall,” he continued.