Current CB2 District Manager Debra Markell announces her candidacy for council and aims to get the city back on track
November 12, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Debra Markell, the current district manager for Community Board 2, announced Wednesday that she is running to be the next member of the 23rd District City Council.
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 seeking a second term to represent the district, which covers a large swath of eastern Queens.
There are five other Democratic candidates vying for the seat, with the primary due to take place in June 2021. The new council 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 a cornerstone of her campaign.
“As I look ahead to the daunting challenges facing our city, it’s evident that experience is critical 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 Director with the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit, a job where she worked as a liaison between Queens residents and the town hall. She held this position during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations.
She then had a short stint in the Department of Housing and Preservation before gaining her current position as CB2 district manager in 2006. Markell said she would remain in her role as CB2 district manager 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 26th District Democratic State Committee and President of the Executive Committee of the FDR Democratic Club. She was at one time president of the 109th NYPD Precinct Community Council, which covers northern Queens.
Markell lives at North Shore Towers, a large co-op complex near the Nassau County line, and said advocating for co-op and condo owners will be central to his tenure.
Other key issues include fighting for seniors and improving public education, public safety and transportation measures.
This isn’t Markell’s first run for a city council seat. In 1997, for example, she lost a primary to Julia Harrison in what was then 19and council district. This district covered northern Queens.
This time around 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.
Other candidates in the race include Steve Behar, who led Grodenchik’s 2015 campaign; Jaslin Kaur, an organizer from northeast Queens; Linda Lee, Executive Director of Metropolitan New York’s Korean Community Services; Sanjeev Jindal, public relations officer at the Indian Association of Long Island; and Christopher Fuentes-Padilla, former chairman of the Queens County Libertarian Party.