Seven candidates compete for Grodenchik’s seat in the pseudo-burbs of Eastern Queens
April 30, 2020
Queens Daily Eagle
By David Brand
‘Our city needs someone who really understands good government’
More than anyone else in the field, veteran government official Debra Markell, the district manager in Community Board 2, is courting the moderate vote.
She’s starting with her neighbors in North Shore Towers. “It’s a big voting bloc,” she said.
After losing previous bids for the council seat, Markell decided to run again at the behest of late Queens Borough President Claire Shulman.
“We were riding in the car and she said, ‘It’s your turn to run,’ and I said, ‘There are no openings,’” Markell recalled. “She said, ‘But promise me you would.’”
A few months later, Grodenchik decided to leave office. Markell said she saw herself as the most experienced option to replace him.
“Our city needs someone who really understands good government,” she said.
She said she enabled Queens CB2 to operate in the black even as the city council cut community board funding, and has experience with various government agencies and police as former head of Flushing’s 109th Precinct Community Council.
Markell champions funding for the NYPD to tackle “quality of life” offenses like graffiti, though she said cops need more training to address their biases and work with people experiencing mental health crises.
“I was Community Council president in the mid 90s. I understand what it’s like to have community policing,” she said. “And we need to put money into training and services to make everybody strong.”
She wants to prioritize funding for the Department for the Aging and senior services, as well as local infrastructure, roadways and transit.
“Money is going to be scarce and we have to put money in DFTA,” she said.
Markell has raised $33,101 in private contributions, plus more than $150,000 in public matching funds. She received the endorsement of Rep. Tom Suozzi.