June 5, 2017 By Jason Cohen
Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) announced Thursday that he is running for City Council and plans to take Julissa Ferreras-Copeland’s 21st District Council seat now that she has decided not to seek re-election.
Ferreras-Copeland, who was deemed a front runner to become the next Council speaker, told Politico Wednesday that she plans to vacate the seat so she can spend more time with her husband and son. She will complete her term at the end of the year.
“After a great deal of thought and prayer, I have decided not to run for re-election,” Ferreras-Copeland said in a statement to Politico. “I have had the privilege of representing the 21st District in Queens for 8 years, where I’ve fought for the education of our children, the rights of women and families, and the protection of our immigrants.”
Moya, a lifelong resident of Corona, has represented the 39th Assembly District since 2010, making him the first Ecuadorian-American ever elected to public office in the United States.
Moya said that by being on the city council he would be better able to focus on local issues than if he were in the state assembly. There are numerous issues he said need to be addressed in the district, including bringing in more affordable housing and finding funding for libraries.
In addition, the recent announcement that former State Senator and Councilman Hiram Monserrate announced he would run for the council seat also spurred him to throw his hat in the ring.
Monserrate was expelled from office in February 2010 following a misdemeanor conviction for assaulting his girlfriend. In October 2010, he was indicted on federal corruption charges, which alleged that, as a sitting member of the City Council, he had used staff members of a nonprofit organization—the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment—to perform tasks related to his unsuccessful 2006 State Senate campaign.
“I think when you have someone that is a convicted felon and a convicted abuser trying to come back to public office I think we have to stand up to that,” Moya said. “This is very personal. I grew up in this community.”
Moya said his decision to run for city council was a fast one.
“No one was anticipating the councilwoman would not seek re-election, so this was a quick decision,” Moya said.