Feb. 6, 2018 By Tara Law
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that a special election will take place for the 11 vacant seats in the state legislature— including Francisco Moya’s vacated Assembly seat—on April 24.
Moya resigned from his seat representing the 39th Assembly District (Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona) after he was elected to replace Julissa Ferreras-Copeland on the City Council.
The governor had been under fire for failing to announce a date for the special elections, especially with the state’s $165 billion budget being due April 1.
The delay has meant that the 39th Assembly District—along with many other districts– will not be represented during the budget negotiation process. Cuomo could have called for the election as early as Jan. 1.
The empty Assembly seats are not considered to be crucial, because the Democrats hold a large majority. Meanwhile, the state senate is firmly controlled by Republicans, following a deal they struck with a break-away group of Democrats–including State Sen. Jose Peralta–called the Independent Democratic Conference.
Two Democrats have already come forward to vie for Moya’s vacated seat.
Catalina Cruz, Ferreras-Copeland’s former Chief of Staff, has announced she wants the position.
Cruz, a 35-year-old Jackson Heights resident, immigrated from Colombia with her mother when she was 9 years old, and was undocumented for 10 years. She is an attorney and the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County.
Cruz’s priorities include MTA reform; establishing single payer healthcare through the state; building new schools and investing in STEM programs; and enacting a state DREAM Act.
“I want to give a voice to those who all too often have not been heard in government,” Cruz said in announcing her run. “I am running to fix the MTA, to invest in our public schools, to advocate for immigrants and the LGBT community, and to make New York more affordable.”
Aridia Espinal, a Corona resident who was a Moya staffer for 10 years, is also running for the seat. She is a lifelong resident who has the backing of Moya and has received campaign contributions from groups affiliated with Assembly Members Michael DenDekker and Aravella Simotas.
“I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the State Assembly, and I thank Francisco Moya for his support,” she said in a statement. “He has been a mentor to me for decades, and I am eager to continue his legacy of delivering for working families.