Oct. 2, 2019 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Donovan Richards announced today that he is running to be the next Queens Borough President, joining an increasingly crowded field.
Richards is the latest politician to announce his bid. Council Member Costa Constantinides, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman are all in the race with others expected to come forward.
The seat is likely to be vacated by current Borough President Melinda Katz, who won the Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney and is expected to cruise to victory in November’s general election for the position.
The city will hold a special election for Queens Borough President within 45 days of Katz’s vacancy.
Richards, a lifelong Queens resident who has represented Southeast Queens in the City Council since 2013, was first inspired to begin a career in politics when he was 18 years old, after his childhood friend was shot and killed.
“When I saw him in that casket, I knew my life had changed forever, I knew I had to act,” he said in a campaign video. “I couldn’t watch one more friend have their dreams cut short.”
He did community work aiming to combat gun violence and then decided to run for office.
“I had to do something. I had to serve,” Richards said.
We have done so much to make Queens a better place for all who call our borough home. But far too many have been left behind. Together, we can build a Queens that works for everyone: https://t.co/X0CKpXVON6 pic.twitter.com/w8PuFy5pRQ
— Donovan Richards (@DRichards13) October 2, 2019
In his first term in the city council, Richards served as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and fought for affordable housing particularly in the Rockaways.
He later served as Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection following Superstorm Sandy, where he helped secure funding for flood protection to protect Rockaway communities.
Currently, Richards serves as the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. In the position, he has held numerous hearings on NYPD protocols surrounding protests. He is a proponent of closing Rikers Island and legalizing adult-use cannabis.
Richards has named four key campaign issues he is running on — criminal justice reform; jobs and affordable housing; immigrant rights; and fixing public transportation.
In his campaign video, Richards said he hoped to create a “new” Queens as Borough President.
“For some in Queens there has been growth, but far too many of our communities have been left behind,” he said. “While we watch luxury buildings pierce the sky, far too many of our children live with mold in public housing. We must do better.”
Richards said he was committed to bringing more jobs into the borough and fighting for measures like commercial rent control for small businesses.
In addition to ensuring NYCHA makes necessary investments to fix its infrastructure, Richards said he would fight for tenants’ rights and funding for housing court attorneys.
He also made campaign commitments to ensure funding to provide legal services to undocumented immigrants and to keep ICE out of Queens courthouses.
Lastly, Richards promised to advocate for long term investments in public transportation infrastructure and improvements for bike safety.
Assembly Member Hyndman announced her candidacy last Friday, while former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who lost her city council seat to Robert Holden in 2017, said she is likely to run for borough president, but hasn’t officially announced her candidacy yet.
Other rumored contenders include Council Members Paul Vallone and Eric Ulrich, the borough’s only elected Republican.