March 21, 2018 By Tara Law (Updated March 21)
Astoria Councilmember Costa Constantinides endorsed Jessica Ramos to replace Jose Peralta in the New York State Senate yesterday, describing her as a “real Democrat.”
Peralta has represented Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, East Elmhurst, Woodside and part of Astoria in the State Senate since he was elected in a special election in 2010. Ramos, a Jackson Heights resident, is a longtime labor advocate and formerly served as the Director of Latino Media for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Her platform emphasizes reforming the MTA, strengthening rent laws and instituting protections for immigrants.
Peralta has been criticized for joining the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) in January 2017. The IDC is a Democratic splinter group which is aligned with Senate Republicans.
In announcing his decision to join the IDC, Peralta said that he believed working with the GOP would enable him to advance certain issues— affordable housing, higher education, school funding equity, and homelessness reforms.
Ramos said that she felt “honored” to receive Constantinides’ endorsement, and spoke of the importance of removing Peralta.
“Right now, this district’s State Senator supports a Republican majority in Albany—blocking the DREAM Act, the Reproductive Health Act, and more,” said Ramos. “It’s time to vote him out. I’m proud to count on the support of my good friend Councilmember Costa Constantinides and look forward to campaigning alongside him as we fight for a true Democratic majority in Albany this year.”
Constantinides said that Peralta’s decision amounted to a betrayal of their party.
“I am proud to endorse Jessica — a candidate who reflects our Democratic values — rather than someone who supports the party of Trump,” said Constantinides. “I’m honored to stand on the front lines with Jessica and will put all my energy into supporting her campaign and electing her as State Senator this year.”
Peralta’s campaign responded to Constantinides’ decision in a statement.
“As Senator Peralta continues to represent Queens in Albany and work to pass progressive legislation like the DREAM Act and an on-time budget, Councilman Constantinidies should be concerned with the needs of his District and staying relevant to his own constituents.”
Andrea Marra, a longtime LGBTIQ activist, is also vying for Peralta’s seat.
The New York Senate primary will take place on Sept. 13, 2018, with the general election on Nov. 13.