Queens Village mom, 82, got her 130 kids to vote

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The Queens Village resident, who has been voting since her 18th birthday 64 years ago, does not vote along party lines. She votes for the people...

By Adam Kramer

For 82-year-old Margaret Magowan voting is not a privilege, it is a right that should not be taken lightly.

The Queens Village resident, who has been voting since her 18th birthday 64 years ago, does not vote along party lines. She votes for the people who espouse the political philosophies she believes in.

“I vote for whomever I like,” Magowan said. “I like the Republican if he believes what I believe in, the same for the Democrats. I vote for my opinion.”

Magowan, a registered Democrat, has been supporting state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) for as long as she can remember. During Padavan’s 2000 election against Rory Lancman she put up posters on her lawn and on Election Day handed out fliers to get people to vote for the 15-term incumbent.

“If you have an opinion during an election year, you have to vote for the person who has the same opinion as you do,” she said. “If they don’t get in and you did not vote, it is half your fault.”

Magowan moved to Queens Village in 1950 with her late husband to get out of Brooklyn and to live in an area that was a “little rural.” Magowan, who grew up on a farm in Garden City, Kan., wanted some open space to raise a family. She had left western Kansas at 18 when her family could not afford schooling past junior college and her grandmother invited her to live with her in Brooklyn.

Her first home in Queens Village was on 214th Place. In 1976 she and her family moved to 222-33 93rd Rd. It was in their Queens Village homes that Magowan and her husband raised five kids of their own and took care of 125 foster children.

“I had seen an article in a Brooklyn paper asking ‘is there room in your heart for these two girls?’” she said. “I told my husband that when we get a house, this was what I wanted to do. I didn’t know you could take in kids living in an apartment.”

Magowan tried to instill in the 130 children she influenced during her life the importance of voting. Voting is not just for the “big wigs,” she told them, and they all heeded her advice.

“It’s pitiful,” she responded when questioned on what she thought about the voter apathy of American citizens.

“I tell everyone I talk to to get out and vote,” Magowan said. “I do not know much about who is running for mayor and I want to see more pamphlets in the mail so I can take it to the club (Queens Village Friends Club) and influence them. If you can vote then vote at schools and if you can’t go to the machines get an absentee ballot.”

She is the president of the Queens Village Friends Club, a senior citizen’s club.

Magowan said she plans to vote in the upcoming election when term limits unseat all of Queens’ city council members, the borough president and the mayor, but she does not know much about who is running and their political platforms.

She said the candidates need to come into the communities, meet with the residents and community groups such as her senior citizen club. The candidates need to talk to us and explain their political platforms, Magowan said.

“Growing up in Kansas one of my fondest memories is the campaign train,” she said. “Gov. Landon pulled into town to speak to the community. He handed out cowbells and buttons, which I still have. Everyone went to the train station to see these people when they came into town.”

Alfred Landon was the Republican candidate for president of the United States in 1936. He lost to Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was seeking his second term.

She suggested that the candidates for political office in Queens should pull into neighborhoods in trucks with open backs and speak to the communities. They could spend one day in each community throughout the borough, Magowan said.

Magowan’s key issues are education, prayer in school — which she agrees with — and health care for seniors.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Updated 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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