Current CB2 District Director Debra Markell Announces Council Race, Aiming To Get City Back On Track

Debra Markell, speaking at the February 2, 2020 Community Council meeting (Photo: Thirteen)

November 12, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Debra Markell, the current District Director of Community Board 2, announced on Wednesday that she is running for the next 23rd District City Council member.

Markell, a resident of Glen Oaks, is seeking to fill the seat currently held by Council member Barry Grodenchik, who will step down at the end of 2021.

Grodenchik, whose term is not limited, announced last month that he was not running for a second term to represent the district, which covers much of eastern Queens.

There are five other Democratic candidates vying for the seat, with the primary set to take place in June 2021. The new board member will take office on January 1, 2022.

Markell said she plans to get the city back on track and cited her experience working in government and as a community leader as the cornerstone of her campaign.

“When I look at the daunting challenges facing our city, it is evident that the experience is crucial to getting our city back on track,” Markell said in a statement. “As COVID-19 has changed our way of life on many levels, I know we can come back stronger. “

Markell’s career in public service includes an eight-year stint as Queens Warden in the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit, a job where she worked as a liaison between the residents of Queens and the ‘city Hall. She held this position under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations.

She then spent a short period at the Department of Housing and Conservation before obtaining her current position as District CB2 Director in 2006. Markell said she would remain in her role as District Director CB2 pending the outcome of the race.

Markell grew up in Flushing and is currently Chairman of the Flushing Hospital Advisory Board.

She is also a member of the Democratic State Committee for the 26th District and chair of the FDR Democratic Club Executive Committee. She was at one time president of the 109th NYPD Precinct Community Council, which covers North Queens.

Markell lives at the North Shore Towers, a large co-op complex near the Nassau County border, and has said advocating for the rights of co-op and condo owners will be at the heart of his mandate.

Other key issues include fighting for the elderly and improving public education, public safety and transportation measures.

This is not the first time Markell has run for a seat on city council. In 1997, for example, she lost a primary to Julia Harrison for what was then the 19e council district. This district covered the north of Queens.

This time, she is looking to represent District 23 which covers Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

The other candidates running are Steve Behar, who led the Grodenchik election campaign in 2015; Jaslin Kaur, an organizer from northeast Queens; Linda Lee, executive director of Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York; Sanjeev Jindal, public relations manager at the Long Island Indian Association; and Christopher Fuentes-Padilla, former chairman of the Queens County Libertarian Party.

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Daniel E. Murphy