Feb. 17, 2020 By Kristen Torres
A former sanitation employee who spent 20 years working for the city is putting his hat in the ring to challenge State Senator Michael Gianaris in this year’s Democratic primary.
Ignazio “Izzy” Terranova retired from the city’s Department of Sanitation after a decades-long career in 2019. His inspiration to run against the incumbent senator for Senate District 12, however, came last year after Gianaris nixed Amazon’s plan to open its HQ2 campus in Long Island City.
“The current senator has lost complete touch with the residents of his district,” Terranova said. “For someone to think it’s ok to throw away 25,000 good paying jobs for politics—that makes no sense.”
He also pointed to Gianaris’ work with bail reform as a major catalyst for his decision to run. The senator was the author of the controversial bail reform legislation that would end cash bail for most misdemeanors and low-level felony charges. Gianaris also helped usher it through as part of the state budget and hailed its passage.
“For a guy who’s letting people out [of jail] under a bail reform bill makes no sense,” he said. “I’m for reforming the bail system, but not the way they did it.”
Terranova, 45, was born in Italy and moved with his family to Astoria when he was just 2-years-old. He began his career as a garbage collector before eventually moving up the ranks to become the supervisor of the DSNY’s Community Affair Unit.
Terranova is running on a platform that is centered on supporting small business, preserving affordable housing and protecting labor unions.
He said his work as a liaison between DSNY, community members and elected officials has primed him for a role in the state senate.
“I spent the last few years of my career going to every corner of this city to help people with their problems,” he said. “I was the guy that all the elected officials came to when they needed something—including the senator [Gianaris].”
“I fixed their problems. I did the work. I got things done,” he added.
Gianaris, however, said he’s confident his track record in office will carry him through to another win.
“I am confident my record protecting our neighborhoods from further displacement and fighting for better subways and delivering justice for tens of thousands on New Yorkers will be recognized by the voters,” he said in a statement.
But despite the Senator’s seeming indifference toward a run by Terranova, it was just two years ago that Gianaris was praising the DSNY retiree on the Senate floor.
“New York City is full of distinguished characters that leave an impression, and Iggy Terranova is certainly one of them,” Gianaris said at the time.“I’ve been impressed by not only his skill and ability, but his outsized personality as well. He lives in Astoria, in my district, and I’m proud of that.”
Terranova was recently endorsed by Justin Potter—a newcomer to city politics who until this week had been waging his own campaign against Gianaris.
“When it comes to challenging an incumbent in an election, the most constructive approach is for all of us who want change to come together behind one candidate,” Potter wrote in a statement.
“We are excited to endorse Iggy, and are looking forward to joining him and countless others from across the spectrum in working together for a better Queens.”
The candidates will face off during the Democratic primary election on June 23.