JPCA will be hosting a candidates night for state assembly on Wednesday, June 22 at 7pm at 58-38 69th Street, 2nd Floor in Maspeth. Below is our candidates guide, which includes bios submitted by the candidates.
District 28 (Maspeth & Middle Village)
Ethan Felder (D):
My name is Ethan Felder and I am running to represent you in the State Assembly. Queens has always been my home – I grew up in Forest Hills, attended Townsend Harris High School and have spent my career as a labor lawyer fighting for our essential workers and their families.
Recent times have not been easy. Over the last several months I have been walking our neighborhood conversing with neighbors on doorsteps and have heard one consistent theme: we need action and accountability for rising crime and violence. As your assembly member, I will work alongside law enforcement to ensure our laws do not allow dangerous criminals to walk our streets. I will work to increase funding for our police and police precincts. In addition, I will work diligently to protect our quality of life – our schools, parks, and mom and pop shops.
I would very much like to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to give me a call at 917-672-1920. I hope to earn your vote on Primary Day, June 28.
Andrew Hevesi (D):
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi has represented the 28th District in Queens since 2005. He is currently the Chair of the Children and Families Committee and in this role, works to implement policies that serve disadvantaged youth, with a specific focus on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma, both of which impact millions of children and perpetuate many of society’s largest inequities. In addition to his legislative work Assemblyman Hevesi has also assisted tens of thousands of constituents in individual cases, partnered with local organization on an array of local initiatives – including but not limited to park cleanups, supply distributions, e-recycling events, and on the ground assistance – and has remained committed with his team to attending each local Community Board meeting as well as contact with community stakeholders.
In 2021, Assemblyman Hevesi’s legislation prohibiting the arrest and prosecution of any child under 12 years old, barring crimes of homicide, was signed into law. Assemblyman Hevesi also fought to address hate crimes through the Asian American and Pacific Islander Equity fund, advocated for $16 million in funds to go towards addressing hate crimes, and helped secure $241 million for gun violence prevention in the budget.
As Children and Families Chair Assemblyman Hevesi has championed universal childcare, increased wages for the childcare workforce and expanded childcare subsidies. He has passed legislation improving the kinship and foster care system including expanding the definition of kin to include “fictive kin” and allowing youth aging out of foster care in receipt of a rental voucher to live with a roommate. He has worked to improve the lives of survivors of human trafficking by increasing the statute of limitations a survivor can bring a civil suit and creating culturally competent safe houses. In 2019, his bill allowing survivors of domestic violence to terminate residential leases without incurring financial burden was signed into law. Most recently in the 2022 budget, Assemblyman Hevesi fought for and secured $7 billion for childcare to be spent over the next 4 years, increasing childcare subsidy eligibility from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 300% FPL. This will allow an additional 400,000 children eligible for care.
Throughout the pandemic, Assemblyman Hevesi and his office assisted and successfully resolved over 300 unemployment insurance cases, ensuring his constituents received the benefits they were owed at a time of heightened financial insecurity. He also worked to deliver over 150,000 masks, 10,000 rapid tests, and thousands of hand sanitizers and other cleaning materials to constituents, local groups, schools, and businesses to stay safe during the pandemic. These distributions are ongoing.
Locally, Assemblyman Hevesi has partnered with numerous grassroots organizations, community boards, city agencies and local precincts on neighborhood beautification efforts. These efforts include park cleanups, daffodil plantings, graffiti removal, and litter removal from our streets.
Assemblyman Hevesi grew up in Forest Hills where he still lives today with his wife and their daughter.
Michael Conigliaro (R)
My name is Michael Conigliaro and I am running for State Assembly in District 28. I grew up in Kew Gardens and I graduated from Richmond Hill High School. I currently reside in Rego Park. I am a father of two beautiful daughters, Madelyn, age 7, and Sophia, age 14. I serve as the President of the Community Education Council District 24 school board, and work as a law office manager. I am a board member and legal advisor for the Bridge to Life Organization. I am also a lector at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills.
I am running for State Assembly because there is a dire need to take our state back. Our opponents are pushing for radical policies that put our community at risk. Common sense is being thrown out the window at our peril, crime is skyrocketing on our streets and subways, small businesses are struggling, property taxes are reaching unaffordable highs, an unwanted community jail is soon set to open with no support, and now we face rapid overdevelopment through unwanted high-rises.
Change begins with supporting the NYPD, preserving the SHSAT and the Gifted & Talented Program, fighting the impending Jail in Kew Gardens, defending our quality of life, spearheading property tax reform, aiding small businesses decimated by COVID-19, and going to bat for the forgotten middle class. Together we can bring these commonsense reforms to the State Assembly and keep our neighborhoods thriving and safe. Now let’s go and take our state back.
District 30 (Maspeth, Middle Village):
Ramón Cando (D)
Ramon Cando is the epitome of realizing the American Dream. Cando emigrated from South America in the 1990s and has lived in Elmhurst, Queens for over two-decades. He has degrees in finance and liberal arts. Like many before him, Ramon came to this new nation in search of opportunity, working as a laborer in many different positions, always seeking to advance through hard work and perseverance.
In 2008, after the fiscal crisis hit all Americans, he found himself struggling, living paycheck to paycheck, only to work harder and harder seeing little progress. He realized that far too many people in his local community were struggling too. Shortly thereafter, Cando started a vocational career as a laborer and member of Local 78 LIUNA. Cando became keenly aware of the importance of organized labor unions. He became active in his union in organizing and encouraging participation with rank-and-file members.
In 2020 Cando entered the political arena winning a contested election for Democratic District Leader for the 35th Assembly District. This year, because of re-districting, Cando resides in the newly created 30th Assembly District and is running for the NYS Assembly. Cando wants to amplify the voice our community and everyday New Yorkers.
Cando is running as a common-sense Democrat pro-public safety candidate who supports our law enforcement. He is running against a left wing “defund the police” candidate in the Democratic Primary.
Steven Raga (D)
Steve Raga is running for Assembly District 30 because he is committed to our community and believes we deserve a representative who will fight for us in Albany, as well as support us here in the district. His over 18 years of public service includes serving as Executive Director of Woodside on the Move, Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Brian Barnwell, Regional Manager for Policy & Advocacy for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Senior Advisor for AARP, and Legal Researcher at the Fordham University School of Law.
Currently, he is an Advisor for the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a Member of the Queens District Attorney Commission for Asian American Affairs, and a Member for Queens Community Board 2. He also sits on the non-profit Boards for the National Association for Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the National Urban Fellows Alumni, and Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) which he founded in Woodside in 2009.
Steven holds an MBA from Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, an MS in Healthcare Policy & Research from Weill Cornell Medicine, an MPA from CUNY Baruch College, a BA/MPP from SUNY Stony Brook, an AA from Nassau Community College, and graduated from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State & Local Government program.
Sean Lally (R)
I’ve lived in Woodside all my life. I’ve mostly worked in public service. My first job was helping build a concrete floor for a family friend. After that I worked at an employment center assisting in whatever they needed help with whether that was logging attendance, bagging masks, or preparing government public service literature for the teams that went out to distribute it in various Queens neighborhoods. I’ve shoveled snow with the NYC Department of Sanitation and measured sidewalks with the NYC Department of Transit, volunteered to remove trash, and worked on election day as a poll worker. I currently set up Street Fairs, Dance Competitions, and generally fun events for a small party rental company called Extraordinary Party Rentals.
As Assemblyman I plan first and foremost to support this state and the people that live in it. To that end, I will do away with bail reform as it currently serves to put New Yorkers in danger. On day one I will co-sponsor all bills that seek to support New Yorker’s freedom. I will always support police.
District 37 (Maspeth)
Johanna Carmona (D)
My name is Johanna Carmona and I’m running to succeed Cathy Nolan in the New York State Assembly because our community deserves a champion who loves our neighborhoods and will continue to stand up for us in Albany.
I was born and raised in Sunnyside, where my family and I live to this day. My parents are Colombian immigrants who with the help of our incredible community, raised two daughters who are first-generation Americans. At an early age, my mother suffered a serious stroke that left her permanently disabled, and our lives were forever changed. She was in the hospital for three years. As my father worked two jobs to make sure his wife had the care she needed, he leaned on this community to ensure his daughters were cared for. Our community supported my family through volunteer babysitters, food pantries, and after school programs.
When you receive that kind of love from your community, you want to give that love back.
I have a proven track record of getting results for people who need help- first as Assemblywoman Nolan’s intern and then as her Hispanic community liaison where I helped connect people to the community programs that helped my family when we needed it most.
Next in law school where I worked in the human rights and immigration clinic filing visas for individuals of human trafficking, raised money for local community programs, worked in the tax clinic filing taxes for people with low incomes.
And later on behalf of victims of sexual assault at the King’s County DA’s SVU, in private practice helping 9/11 first responders get the medical care they’re owed. Even now, as I campaign, I’m representing survivors under the child victim act and children who are victims of abuse in foster care.
Our wonderful neighborhoods are facing many challenges. I will go to Albany and fight everyday for the hard working families and individuals that make up our community. I will fight to protect access to legal abortion, families from rising crime, affordable housing options, clean energy to protect our environment and funding for our subways and buses. I will always listen to all the voices in our communities and work to build civility, consensus and forward movement to improve quality of life.
Currently, I have been endorsed by Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Former City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, Charles Ober from the Ridgewood Property Owners Association, and Joan DeCamp active queens Kiwanis member and former chair of next door neighborhood Community Board 9.
I’m humbled by this moment where I’m asking this community who raised me to put their trust in me to deliver for us. I have dedicated my life and career to standing up for people who could not stand for themselves and with your votes, I will always stand up for you.
James Magee (D):
My name is Jim Magee. I am 41 years old. I was born and raised in Sunnyside. I am married with two young girls. I am running to be your assemblyman because I believe that career politicians have been more interested in keeping their careers, then in doing what is right for the community. They seem to have nothing to offer the working person.
I have never lived more than two blocks from where I do now. My mother was a public school teacher in the South Bronx for 30 years. My grandfather was the President of the Paper Handler’s Union in the 1960s and raised his family here. Like our mother, my brother and I graduated St. Teresa’s Grade School in Woodside. I went to Xavier High School and graduated from Fordham University while working as a bar back, busboy and doorman. I graduated Law School at St. John’s in 2006 and went to work as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn ultimately prosecuting sexual assault. In 2014, I started my own law practice and specialize in criminal defense and civil rights.
A lifelong Democrat, I believe that the central mission of the Party is to champion the working class. The last few decades have seen an unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of very few and at the expense of people who go to work every day. Lately, it seems like the Party hasn’t done much for working people. For the last three years, the Democrats have been in charge of the state government. During that time, we have seen very little improvement in our quality of life. Union membership is still on the decline statewide even as so called “progressives” increase in power. The last state budget gave millions more away in tax breaks to build a sports stadium. This should not be.
Instead, that power was used to inhibit criminal prosecution. Through the bail reform, which was passed without any public debate or vote, our streets have become unsafe and crime has spiked. There is no consequence for stealing from a store. This has affected everyone. Pharmacies have closed because of the epidemic of theft. Our elderly have to travel further and wait longer for their medication.
Many of the perpetrators of these crimes suffer from mental illness and addiction that has gone untreated. I am member of a panel of attorneys that represent those who cannot afford a lawyer. Prior to the bail reform I was placing people in court ordered out-patient treatment. Because of the law, that no longer happens.
The Democratic Party needs to rededicate itself to championing the working class. It has to provide adequate resources to convert to green energy. Many of this district’s residents live in the shadow of outdated and inefficient fossil fuel plants that make us all sick. Affordable housing, adequate public transportation, universal health care and a progressive tax code should be the mission of this Party. Please help me accomplish this.
Brent O’Leary (D):
Blue-collar values, White-collar experience:
My grandparents immigrated to New York City from Ireland in the 1910s, making a home for our family on 40th Street in Sunnyside. My father worked until he was 74 as a Belmont racetrack ticket teller and a member of Local 3, the electricians union. I understand the sacrifices made by generations of my family to give me the opportunity for a better life. I remember my father telling me he didn’t realize he was poor because of how our community came together to provide for us. Every New Yorker deserves that same opportunity and support from our government.
I started working when I was 12: bus boy, waiter, mail room, concession stand and was able to attend college on financial aid. I then went to Japan and taught English for a year before returning and going to law school on financial aid. I had a successful career as an international business attorney for 25 years and now it’s time to give back. People want someone with the blue-collar values I grew up with and my white-collar experience to deliver for our community. I know what our community needs because I’m from it and I’ve served this community for over a decade.
Get It Done Democrat:
I founded the Hunters Point Civic 10 years ago and have fought to make the government respond to our needs, organized yearly charity events to take care of those in need just like my family. I am President of the Board of Woodside on the Move where we made sure that our schools have after school programs with sports, art, and tutoring, and a housing program to make sure all have a roof over their head. During Covid I founded two food pantries and fed over 200,000 in 2 years.
We need someone who is unbossed and unbought by the old corrupt Queens machine and the radical socialists. Out of touch radicalism and ineffective governance won’t cut it for what this city is going through right now. We need someone with a proven track record in their community who will keep them safe.
Why I’m Running:
I am running because Queens is in crisis. Rising violent crime is ravaging our streets. Small businesses are being shuttered. Students are commuting hours to overcrowded classrooms. Our broken healthcare system has families going bankrupt to keep loved ones alive. We need politicians that work for the people.
I am an FDR Democrat I believe in giving people the tools to empower themselves and a strong social safety net to protect people when times are tough.
I will protect and empower our residents in the State Assembly. I’m running to build more schools and ensure excellent education for our children, so that small businesses are not priced out of their own neighborhoods, and so that violent criminals are kept off our streets. I will also push for more green spaces, libraries, and transit options. www.brentfornyc.com