Incumbent Ferreras wins handily

The Brooklyn Paper

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) handily defeated challenger Eduardo Giraldo to win the Democratic primary for the 21st District seat.

Ferreras, the incumbent who won the seat in a special election in February after her former boss Hiram Monserrate ascended to the state Senate, had 65.9 percent of the vote compared with Giraldo’s 34.1 percent, according to city Board of Election figures. She had no known Republican opponents.

A total of 3,767 people voted in the election, according to the board — a little more than half the number that turned out for the race for Councilwoman Helen Sears’ (D-Jackson Heights) seat next door in the 25th District.

The councilwoman also faced off against Giraldo in the February race.

She did not return a call seeking comment by press time Tuesday night.

Giraldo said he was disappointed by the number of voters at the polls.

“I think we worked hard,” Giraldo said. “We gave it 110 percent. ... I think the turnout was very low and we weren’t able to persuade the people to vote for me. Today I am glad this is over. This is a long race and a difficult one.”

Ferreras, 32, grew up in Corona, the daughter of Dominican immigrants. She got her start in community involvement when she joined then-City Councilwoman Helen Marshall’s Youth Council at age 15.

Ferreras soon became president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons’ Youth Council and after high school she took a job as director of PS 19’s Beacon School, an after-school program funded by the city’s Department for Youth and Community Development.

She ventured into politics six years later when then-Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette recommended her as a delegate for the 2000 Democratic National Convention. A year later while working on Hillary Clinton’s successful U.S. Senate campaign, she met Monserrate, who was making his first bid for the Council.

Ferreras spent four years as Monserrate’s chief of staff before leaving to head the New York chapter of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. During this time she was also named the chairwoman of the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment, a Monserrate-funded nonprofit that later had trouble accounting for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ferreras said the position was ceremonial and she had nothing to do with LIBRE’s finances.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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