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Three Queens Council Candidates Get Endorsements From Major Union and Activist Groups

Candidates Shekar Krishnan, John Choe and Amit Bagga (Left to Right) (via respective campaign sites)

Feb. 25, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A coalition made up of a powerful labor union and two activist organizations announced new endorsements in three Queens council races Tuesday.

Road to Justice NYC — comprised of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Community Voices Heard Power and Make the Road Action — named its picks for districts 20, 25 and 26.

The coalition backed John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, for the 20th district seat that covers downtown Flushing, Murray Hill and Queensboro Hill.

“John Choe has fought for working class New Yorkers for decades,” the coalition said in a statement. “An immigrant himself, John understands the issues facing immigrants and communities of color. He’ll be a strong voice in the City Council.”

Choe has experience working in city politics. He was John Liu’s chief of staff when Liu represented the district in the city council.

The District 20 seat is currently filled by term-limited Council Member Peter Koo.

Road to Justice NYC also named Shekar Krishnan, a civil rights lawyer, as its choice for the 25th district seat covering Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

“Shekar Krishnan has dedicated himself to working for affordable housing for all,” the coalition said. “He fights for more resources for our communities, defunding the police, and the rights & needs of immigrants & trans communities.”

Krishnan has earned several notable endorsements from several labor unions, including the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ SEIU, United Federation of Teachers, and elected officials such as Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, Congresswoman Nadia Velázquez and State Sen. Julia Salazar.

Term-limited Council Member Daniel Dromm currently represents the district in the City Council.

Lastly, the coalition endorsed Amit Bagga in the crowded 26th Council District race. Bagga recently served as the deputy director of the city’s 2020 Census campaign and has worked in City Hall as deputy commissioner at both the NYC Department of Consumer & Worker Protection and the Department of Social Services.

“Amit Bagga has built deep partnerships between different levels of government and communities to ensure the voices & needs of community members are always prioritized,” Road to Justice NYC said. “He’s a fighter for respect & dignity for all.”

Bagga has collected endorsements from State Sen. Jessica Ramos, progressive activist and actress Cynthia Nixon and unions like the Hotel Trades Council.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer now holds the seat representing Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria. He is also term-limited and is running for Queens Borough President.

Road to Justice NYC, which was founded in September, supports candidates who prioritize bringing equity to Black, brown, immigrant and working and poor communities.

The coalition has already endorsed two Queens council candidates. It endorsed Tiffany Cabán in the District 22 race in Astoria and Jennifer Gutierrez in the District 34 race — representing Ridgewood and parts of Brooklyn — in September.

Road to Justice NYC also offered second-choice picks for the three Queens races in its latest round of endorsements. The new “ranked choice #2” endorsements coincide with the city’s new ranked-choice voting option in which voters can “rank” candidates from one to five based on their order of preference.

Its “ranked choice #2” candidates are Sandra Ung in District 20, Carolyn Tran in District 25 and Jesse Laymon in District 26.

Ranked-choice voting went into effect at the start of this year and Tuesday’s special election for the Southeast Queens council seat is shaping up to be its first test in New York City.

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