Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

Elizabeth Crowley was born and raised in Queens, where she attended St. Agnes High School. Her religious education was an important foundation in her life. Both of her parents served on the City Council. Her cousin, Joe Crowley, served as a US Congressman from New York for many years. She earned a BA in Restoration and Preservation from SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology and an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Architecture. Crowley did historic preservation work, and was a proud union member of District Council 9 (International Union of Painters and Allied Trade). She worked on various major landmarks in New York City, including Radio City Music Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a union member, she was an early advocate for better wages and benefits. Crowley also worked in education.

From 2009 through 2017, she served as a Councilmember for District 30, which covers Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodside, and Woodhaven. In City Council, she served on numerous committees, including Criminal Justice, where she advocated for prison reform. She also served prominently as co-chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus, where she promoted changes for women’s equal pay and opportunity in the workplace.

 

 

Queens Jewish Link: How would you categorize your main past achievements in public office?

Elizabeth Crowley: I have always been someone who believes in reforming government for the right reasons. And the right reasons are not always popular. I stood up to the Mayor when he wanted to cut firehouses…and I won. I stood up to the Speaker of the City Council when she was not allocating funding fairly to members…and changed that system. I took on the head of the Queens Library System when he was spending lavishly on his own needs and not the needs of the people of Queens…and he is no longer there. I am in government to do what is right, and I want to bring that same spirit to the Borough President’s office.

 

QJL: If the DA’s office will be undergoing Criminal Justice Reform, is there anything that you could do to make that more productive?

EC: We must make sure the criminal justice system is fair and equal. We also should not abandon protecting the people of Queens. I supported the recent changes to bail laws signed by the Governor to make sure violent criminals and perpetrators of hate crimes are not harming our community. I am also strongly opposed to defunding the police as has been supported by some of my opponents in this campaign.

 

QJL: What affiliations do you have with Jewish groups, and how were you helpful to them?

EC: As a member of the City Council, I was proud to work hand in hand with the United Talmudical Seminary in Glendale to make sure they felt welcomed and at home in the community. As a young person working on restorative art, I was inspired to work at the Central Synagogue after a major fire. There are many more to list, including Chazaq and the Queens Jewish Community Council, but through my years in government and this campaign I have formed deep, lasting relationships with many in the Jewish community. Many of the conversations this year were about the rise of anti-Semitism and the real fear that people have. The people with whom I spoke and the community deserve so much better. That’s not who we are in Queens, and we must and will do better.

 

QJL: How do you think you could be of benefit to the Jewish community in particular?

EC: I am the strongest candidate to represent the Jewish community in Queens. I will create the anti-Semitism task force on day one. I am committed to building relationships between Queens and Israeli companies and saying no way to the BDS movement. I will advocate for greater security funding for religious schools. And I will listen, learn, and always be working to make life better for the community.

 

QJL: Do you support the State of Israel? Have you ever been to Israel?

EC: Yes, unwaveringly. I have been to Israel twice, once with the JCRC and once on my own.

 

QJL: If the DA’s office will be undergoing Criminal Justice Reform, is there anything that you could do to make that more productive?

EC: We must make sure the criminal justice system is fair and equal. We also should not abandon protecting the people of Queens. I supported the recent changes to bail laws signed by the Governor to make sure violent criminals and perpetrators of hate crimes are not harming our community. I am also strongly opposed to defunding the police as has been supported by some of my opponents in this campaign.

 

QJL: What do you offer the Jewish community that the others don’t?

EC: The strongest advocate and voice who knows how important the community is to the future of Queens. I will listen to the needs of the Jewish community and always fight for its fair share of services and funding. I also believe that not enough has been done to protect houses of worship against threats and will be a steadfast voice of support for better safety. The freedom to worship is fundamental to many in Queens, where we are proud to have so many from diverse backgrounds.

 

QJL: Which areas in Queens is your base of support, and which voters are you hoping to attract to your slate?

EC: I am running a borough-wide race. I have campaigned in every community through canvassing pre-COVID-19, mail, television, and online. I am proud that I have spent a lot of time talking with and listening to the Jewish community in Queens. From visiting shuls, to shops, to homes, to kosher restaurants, I feel a strong personal connection with the community.

 

QJL: How would you assure a voter on the fence that voting for you is a vote for a winning team?

EC: I can assure them because I am the strongest and most prepared candidate for this job. Growing up 14 of 15 kids, raising two sons and working, serving in public office and taking strong positions has uniquely prepared me. My plans for Queens are direct: We need our fair share and I have the proposals to do so. I am focused on making sure our healthcare system is finally rebuilt after years of neglect and that our small businesses can get back on their feet. Small businesses are hurting from COVID-19 and from recent property destruction as a result of riots, which were different from peaceful protesters. The destruction was unacceptable and wrong.

 

QJL: From your life experiences, what would you bring to the office of BP that others may not?

EC: I am a planner. The borough president’s office is both the advocate for the borough and a planner. Just as importantly, I have led in times of crisis, like today. After 9/11, I led the efforts to help small businesses get back on their feet. I was elected during the fiscal crisis in 2009. During Hurricane Sandy, I led major relief efforts in Queens. And when the city tried to cut firehouses, as Chair of the City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice, I led the effort against it and won. I am battle-tested and need no on-the-job training during these turbulent times.