Aug. 23, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A city council candidate running for the District 22 seat in Astoria opened a campaign office on 31st Street earlier this month as the November general election begins to take shape.
Tiffany Cabán, who won the Democratic primary in June, opened an office at 30-83 31st St. on Aug. 15 and elected officials such as State Sen. Mike Gianaris, Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer were among those in attendance to mark the occasion.
The office will be used to train volunteers for canvassing efforts, as well as to offer residents help in connecting with mutual aid groups or city and state agencies. The training sessions will teach volunteers how to have deeper conversations with voters on issues such as public safety.
Erica Vladimer, a spokesperson for the Cabán campaign, says their upcoming canvassing efforts will center on public safety, which voters ranked as the top concern facing the city in a Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos NYC mayoral primary poll conducted in May.
Cabán has been outspoken when it comes to public safety and police reform. She is an advocate for making severe cuts to the NYPD budget in favor of allocating greater resources to mental health and job creation programs—as well as an array of other programs.
Cabán is not the only candidate in the three-person race who recently opened an office in the district, which covers Astoria, Rikers Island and parts of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.
Felicia Kalan, the Republican nominee, opened a campaign office on July 14. The office, located at 26-17 23rd Avenue, holds volunteer training sessions every Saturday at noon.
Campaign staffers also offer assistance with addressing community needs, like helping people find jobs to connecting residents with city and state agencies. The office even serves as a co-working space for freelance workers.
Like Cabán, public safety is a central issue for Kalan.
Kalan believes her pro law enforcement stance will resonate with voters.
“When I talk to people, their number one concern is always public safety,” said Kalan, who says she has found much of her support in Astoria’s Greek community and among residents wanting the city to clamp down on crime. “I would say that this is a race to watch very closely.”
Edwin DeJesus, an independent and the third candidate, has yet to open a campaign office. He said he is expecting to open one, although notes that he has already found ways to connect with the community through public actions and protests.
DeJesus, who is running as a member of the Green Party, said he was the lead organizer for the March for Medicare for All in Manhattan on July 24, which featured Susan Sarandon as keynote speaker.
His campaign, he said, has been endorsed by the Green Party of the United States.
DeJesus hopes the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis and mental health crisis has shaken confidence in the two-party system enough to bring him the victory.
“We’ll definitely be the next city council member because we’re in it to win it,” said DeJesus.