Moya contends new faces needed to help community

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As he runs for the Assembly seat in the 39th District, community activist Francisco Moya said he believes the people in the neighborhood know they need to turn the page on the past.

“We’ve had too much scandal. We’ve had too much corruption in this community,” Moya said. “We need a change.”

Moya, 36, is one of two candidates running in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for the open Assembly seat, which was left vacant by its former holder, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights), in March after Peralta won the post from former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate.

Monserrate, who was removed from the Senate in February after he was found guilty of a misdemeanor in a non-jury trial for dragging his girlfriend through the lobby of his apartment building, is the other Democratic contender for Peralta’s old seat. The district covers Corona, Elmhurst and parts of Jackson Heights.

“We need to get people who are serious about turning this community around,” Moya said.

While he has not held office, Moya said he has worked in public service for his entire career. Born and raised in Corona, Moya formed the Corona Gardens Neighborhood Association when he was 15. Beginning with seven people and growing to 100, the association removed graffiti and plant trees around that community.

“It was that activism that led me to go to D.C.,” Moya said.

In 1997, Moya began a career in the nation’s capital as a legislative aide, working first for U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Ridgewood), then for U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). When he returned home in the early 2000s, he worked in business development for the Elmhurst Hospital Center. While there, he helped build the first women’s clinic and the first senior care center in the area in a bid to bring preventive health care to residents in the area.

The year 2003 saw Moya return to working in politics when he became secretary to the state Senate under Gov. David Paterson, then the minority leader.

“I spent a lot of time working on issues not only in the state of New York, but in the area,” Moya said.

Moya currently works as the public affairs/government affairs person for cable company Cablevision.

If elected assemblyman, Moya wants to help small businesses, particularly those from 37th Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue, through tax breaks that would enable them to stay open in the poor economic climate.

“We’ve seen a lot of mom-and-pop stores who have been here for years closing down,” he said.

Another plan is to combat school overcrowding. He said Corona has an overcrowded district and its students do not get as many services as students at high schools outside the city.

“That fundamental formula [for determining school funding] has to change,” Moya said. “Kids can’t be learning in trailers or in former storage closets.”

Moya said he also hoped to stimulate the economy by encouraging manufacturers to return to Queens, potentially in green industries. He said his plan to do this is to get abandoned plants and buildings retrofitted for new industries.

“We need to make sure that we can bring that back and we’re not outsourcing outside New York City,” he said.

Finally, he said he is hoping to appeal the Urstadt law, which puts rent control in the hands of the state Legislature instead of the City Council.

“So we can make sure people here are not being out-priced in their community,” Moya said.

Moya said he has been campaigning by going around the community and making subway stops, trying to drive people to get out and vote.

“There’s a lot of people who believe in this candidacy,” Moya said. “There’s a lot of people who believe this is the change that Albany needs.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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