Roslin Spigner, the current Democratic district leader in southeast Queens is being challenged for her seat by Dymitra Etienne, a health-care consultant and fellow campaign organizer of former President Barack Obama.
She is running for re-election in the 33rd Assembly District in the Sept. 13 primary. The district represents Queens Village, Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Hollis, Floral Park and Bellerose.
Spigner ran for the seat because after working as a volunteer organizer for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, seeing low voter turnout as a delegate for the Democratic Party in 2014 and learning of the death of her friend, the assemblywoman and former female district leader Barbara Clark in 2016, she wanted to do what she could to help strengthen the party.
“I decided who better to take that district leader seat and work with the community but me,” said Spigner. “It gave me an opportunity to tap into the voters and get people energized.”
New York had a dismal 29 percent voter turnout in 2014, according to Ballotpedia.
“I actually did a phone webinar and I invited people on the call and we talked about that, and how we can improve that,” said Spigner.
Since being elected to the unpaid role as district leader in 2016, Spigner has continued to work to increase voter in her district.
“Local elections are exceedingly important because that is your chance to elect your local legislator – that person who is fighting for you in Albany, that person who is fighting for you in City Hall and that person who is fighting for you on the congressional level,” said Spigner. “If you do not participate in those elections, you do not have a voice or say in who is representing you.”
With this year’s state primary falling on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday, she has been pulling out all the stops to remind voters when to get out to vote.
“I’ve been knocking on doors just to get the signatures to be on the ballot,” said Spigner. “Then I had to let them know that there was going to be an election on Sept. 13 on a Thursday!”
With the campaign in full swing she has gone back to each neighborhood to remind voters to get to the voting booth, making sure no one forgets how important the primary will be.
She also worked to get the Douglas King Regular Democratic Club incorporated.
“It is now a business,” said Spigner, who helps to lead Queens Democratic meetings at the club on every third Thursdays at 7 p.m. at 204-03 Linden Blvd. in St. Albans. “We have 60 dues paying members and we are looking to have more.”
Despite being the cousin of former City Councilman Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans), who held that office from 1974 to 2002, Spigner’s interests in politics started as a member of Delta Sigma Theta’s Queens chapter.
“Eventually I became the president of the alumnae Queens chapter,” said Spigner. “I learned how to organize, how to run meetings and public speaking.”
She has also started a new initiative called Project Responsibility.
“It’s making sure that people don’t spit on the sidewalks or take trash and throw it down,” said Spigner. “It’s educating people to keep their community beautiful. I want to be an advocate for personal responsibility.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose