Queens Top 10 Elected Officials

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ron Adar/Shutterstock
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Queens Top 10 Elected Officials

The city, state and federal officials delivering for the borough.
July 12, 2020

Who are the most powerful elected officials in Queens? The borough boasts such nationally known progressives as AOC, influential establishment figures like Rep. Greg Meeks, as well as city and state officeholders situated at various points along the political spectrum. Here’s our top 10 list of the elected officials with the most clout in Queens. 

1. Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader

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Image Credit: 
Sean Pressley

Michael Gianaris’ political power has soared in his nearly 20 years in office, just like the new skyscrapers in his Western Queens district. The top strategist in the state’s upper chamber seems to have perfected the balancing act, pushing the right positions for his progressive constituents while maintaining his establishment ties and working with moderates. Gov. Andrew Cuomo can’t stand him – and Gianaris considers that a badge of honor.

2. Gregory Meeks

Chair, Queens County Democratic Party

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Image Credit: 
Sean McCabe

The Queens machine doesn’t hold the sway it once did, but you wouldn’t know that from Gregory Meeks’ confidence. Like any good political boss, he’s weathered minor scandals and held on to power, thanks in part to constant check-ins with the other elected officials in his Southeast Queens district. He’s an elder statesman in Washington, D.C., too, moving money as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee.

3. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Member of Congress

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Image Credit: 
Ron Adar/Shutterstock

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional victory two years ago remains a symbolic driver of progressive energy in New York. Two AOC-endorsed challengers have made impressive strides in preliminary voting results this primary season and other candidates backed by the Democratic Socialists of America have had a strong showing. And though AOC’s focus is on national politics, she certainly makes her voice heard on top local issues, such as defunding the NYPD.

4. Grace Meng

Member of Congress

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United States House of Representatives

As New York’s first and only Asian American member of Congress, Grace Meng represents a community that extends well beyond the borders of her district. And as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, she represents members of her party around the country. But as the only member of Congress who represents Queens, and Queens only, she’s first and foremost the No. 1 defender of her diverse district.

5. Daniel Dromm

Chair, New York City Council Finance Committee

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New York City Council

“The Queen of Queens” has been a progressive voice since he fought for gay rights as a New York City school teacher. Activism brought him to politics, where he’s risen to chair one of the council’s most powerful committees. And while he may not see eye to eye with some of the more radical activists on the left, he’s been a staunch ally of Jackson Heights’ ever-growing Latino political cohort.

6. Melinda Katz

Queens District Attorney

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Image Credit: 
lev radin/Shutterstock

The path from the Queens borough presidency to the district attorney’s office wasn’t smooth, but Melinda Katz made it work, thanks in part to the full weight of the borough’s political establishment getting behind the longtime politician and carrying her over the finish line. Now she’s playing catch-up with her progressive peers, modernizing a massive prosecutor’s office that saw little change in the preceding three decades.

7. Donovan Richards

New York City Council Member

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Image Credit: 
Sean Pressley

This onetime rising star now seems to be on his way to the Queens borough presidency, where the development-friendly Southeast Queens native could stay for nearly a decade – if another job doesn’t come up before that. Donovan Richards has been ahead of the curve on criticizing the NYPD and never letting the department off the hook while chairing the City Council Public Safety Committee.

8. Jessica Ramos

State Senator

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Image Credit: 
Sean Pressley

RELATED: Jessica Ramos isn't sugarcoating anything

The pandemic has created plenty of opportunities for state Sen. Jessica Ramos to push legislation supporting workers. As chair of the Labor Committee, she sponsored New York’s paid sick leave law to help employees who contracted the coronavirus, and pushed the state to expand its definition of essential workers and boost their pay. Her district – populated by many service workers – was among the worst hit by the coronavirus.

9. John Liu

State Senator

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Image Credit: 
William Alatriste/State Senate Media Services

John Liu made history in 2018 when he became the first Asian American elected to the state Senate, after setting similar historic firsts in the City Council and city comptroller’s office. The Queens lawmaker has wielded influence in education policy as chair of the Senate New York City Education Committee. He has criticized the governor on school funding, and the mayor for the admissions process to specialized high schools.

10. Eric Ulrich

New York City Council Member

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Image Credit: 
John McCarten/New York City Council

There are more Republicans in New York City than any other city in the country. That’s a function of the city’s size, but as the only Republican elected official in the city who doesn’t represent Staten Island, Eric Ulrich’s voice is heard well beyond the Rockaways. And Ulrich’s outer-borough charm and moderate brand of politics helped him to win the Queens vote in the 2019 race for public advocate.

City & State
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