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Three Candidates Announce Campaigns for Cathy Nolan’s Western Queens Assembly Seat

(L-R) Juan Ardila, Jim Magee and Vlad Pavlyuk

Feb. 17, 2022 By Allie Griffin and Christian Murray

Three Democrats — one progressive and two moderates — have launched campaigns for Cathy Nolan’s state assembly seat this week.

Juan Ardila, a progressive, along with James Magee and Vlad Pavlyuk have announced that they are running for the 37th Assembly District covering Long Island City, Maspeth, Ridgewood, and Sunnyside.

The candidates told the Queens Post of their candidacy shortly after it was reported that Nolan is expected to retire, leaving the seat wide open.

Ardila, a staffer at the Legal Aid Society, has previously run for office. He unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Council Member Robert Holden in the Democratic primary for District 30 last year. He generated 45 percent of the vote.

The 28-year-old Maspeth native has prior government experience, working in Brad Lander’s council office and as a consultant for the NYC Department of Education, where he supported the expansion of universal pre-K and 3-K for All program.

Ardila listed a number of issues he hopes to fight for in his candidacy announcement.

“I’m running for State Assembly because Queens residents deserve affordable housing, improved public transit, and a plan to combat climate change,” he said in a statement. “In Albany, I will be a champion for our seniors, our workers, and our tenants. I am excited to fight for a better future for all New Yorkers.”

Ardila is a first-generation New Yorker and the son of Colombian and Honduran-Cuban immigrants.

He comes to the race with a batch of early endorsements from local progressive leaders. State Sen. Jessica Ramos, Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez and the groups Make the Road Action and Churches United for Fair Housing Action have all announced their support for him.

Meanwhile, life-long Sunnyside resident Jim Magee, 41, told the Queens Post Tuesday that he is running for the district 37 seat.

Magee, an attorney, is best described as a moderate who believes — much like Mayor Eric Adams — that the bail reform system needs to be tweaked.

“I think my experience as a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney would be helpful when it comes to bail reform,” Magee said. “I am concerned about the rise in crime.”

Magee, who has a wife and two young children, runs a law practice in Sunnyside specializing in criminal defense, personal injury, civil rights and civil litigation.

Prior to opening his own practice, he was an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn from 2007 until 2012. He prosecuted DWI, assaults, theft, drug possession, drug sale, gun possession to trial before being moved to the Sex Crimes Unit where he became an expert on DNA evidence.

Magee, who has not run for office before, said that he is concerned about the wealth disparity in the state. He said that he would advocate for raising taxes on high income earners.

The third candidate, Pavlyuk, is a local business owner and resident of Hunters Point in Long Island City. He operates an electronics business out of East New York.

The 28-year-old describes himself as a moderate Democrat. He said the progressive movement in the past two years has made sense, but it is time for the state to move back toward the center. This will be Pavlyuk’s first run for office.

The three candidates are running for the newly redrawn 37th Assembly District, which no longer includes some parts of Astoria and Long Island City that are in the current district.

The new 37th district will no longer go into Astoria and will now exclude Dutch Kills, Queens Plaza and much of Court Square in Long Island City. Those areas are part of the newly drawn 36th District.

The three candidates threw their names into the race after two candidates who announced runs for the seat last year dropped out. Huge “Vax Daddy” Ma and Mary Jobaida have both decided not to run.

Huge Ma, who lives in the Dutch Kills/Astoria area, ended his campaign since he no longer lives in the newly drawn district. Jobaida dropped out to care for her daughter who has health issues.

Democratic district leader and Sunnyside resident Émilia Decaudin also announced Monday that she will not run for the seat despite rumors that she planned to launch a campaign.

The primary election is scheduled for June 28, 2022.

The new district map for Assembly District 37

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