2022 Election Profile: Assembly Candidate Juan Ardila

Juan Ardila, a Maspeth native and community advocate, announced his bid for the New York State Assembly’s 37th district, currently occupied by outgoing Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.

Nolan, whose district whose district encompasses the Hunters Point, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood communities in Western Queens, has held the position since 1984. Following the announcement of her retirement, four local candidates have opted to throw their hats into the ring.

Ardila, 28, is a program coordinator at The Legal Aid Society and has formerly worked as a staff member for then-City Councilmember Brad Lander. He has also worked as a consultant for the New York City Department of Education, where he helped oversee the expansion of pre-K, pre-K Dual Language, and 3-K for All.

He previously ran for the City Council’s 30th district and came up just short of unseating incumbent Robert Holden in last year’s Democratic Primary. Ardila garnered 45 percent of the vote, falling just 926 votes short of victory.

Upon announcing his candidacy for the 37th Assembly district in February, Ardila came out with endorsements from State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz and Councilmember Jennifer Gutierrez. He has since earned the endorsement of Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, Councilmember Tiffany Caban, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and most recently, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He is also the endorsed candidate for the Working Families Party.

The progressive democrat says he wants to be able to work with people on all sides of the political spectrum — both to his left and to his right — up in Albany.

“It’s a different league, a different ballpark,” Ardila said in a sit-down interview with The Queens Ledger. “You’re just going to have to be someone who can work with both ends of the party.”

Ardila, the youngest and perhaps more progressive candidate of the bunch, identifies the issues of housing, climate, and healthcare as key concerns for constituents within the district.

Ardila is in favor of universal healthcare and a proponent of the New York Health Act, which would create a statewide single-payer health care system. He is also in favor of the “Green New Deal” and the closing of dirty power plants in the borough of Queens.

He is in favor of legalizing accessory dwelling units, which he says could bring an estimated 100,000 new homes into the city with correct compliance and safety standards, and providing real affordable housing for lower-income residents.

He’s also a supporter of the proposed “good cause eviction” bill, which would expand tenant protection rights against rent hikes in certain circumstances. He admits he’s “a little bit on the radical side” of the issue, maintaining his progressive stance that there is no good reason for an eviction of a tenant.

The first-generation American saw his mother, Lesly, be unjustly denied her residency when he was 17. When her Temporary Protected Status expired, Ardila recalled, she was at risk of being deported. When he came of age and met the criteria to become a sponsor for his mother, Ardila started the process of petitioning for her permanent residency.

It would be years later when both Ardila and his mother would find themselves at the Maspeth Post Office for monumental moments in both of their lives. As Ardila filed and finalized notarized paperwork with the Board of Elections for his first run at public office, his mother would receive her permanent residency in the mail during the same post office visit. Following the good news, the two went to the Georgia Diner on Queens Boulevard to celebrate with some hamburgers.

As the Maspeth native spoke about expanding tenant protections and true affordable housing in his sit down interview with The Queens Ledger, an unexpected visit and an exchange of keys from Ardila’s mother showed a glimpse into the reason why he got involved in politics.

“I think that’s the exciting part,” Ardila said. “We are now getting people from non-traditional backgrounds and people coming from the same life experiences as many immigrant and diverse populations are coming from, who are now getting into [politics]. I think that’s what excited people, even in the City Council race.”

Ardila said he consistently heard he had no shot at competing or winning last year’s City Council race, where he earned 45 percent of the vote. This time around, Ardila is prioritizing constituent accessibility in the leadup to the Tuesday, June 28 election. Ardila can be seen at the Sunnyside Farmers’ Market every Saturdary, making himself accessible to eligible voters and constituents.

It was ultimately some advice from former Councilmember and current President/CEO of the Variety Boys and Girls Club Costa Constantinides, that led Ardila to be even more within reach for constituents of the district.

“He told me just to be yourself, and even if you don’t agree with someone, always be accessible,” Ardila said. “If they want to email you, text you, DM you on social media, respond. There’s going to be a lot of people who don’t agree with you, but just be accessible.”

Ardila will appear first on the ballot against candidates Brent O’Leary, Johanna Carmona and Jim Magee in the Tuesday, June 28 Democratic Primary.. Stay tuned to The Queens Ledger for more election coverage.

Queens BP endorses Juan Ardila for Queens Assembly seat

State Assembly candidate Juan Ardila has earned the endorsement of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

The Borough President’s endorsement is the latest for Ardila’s campaign, which also holds the endorsements of State Senator Jessica Ramos, State Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, City Council members Tiffany Caban and Jennifer Gutiérrez, as well as former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Ardila, a progressive running for the 37th Assembly District in Queens, is looking to replace Cathy Nolan, who announced her retirement after 36 years earlier this year.

Juan Ardila has always been a passionate advocate for the community,” said Borough President Donovan Richards. “He is a leader who understands the need for protecting tenants, expanding healthcare access, and fixing the climate crisis here in Queens. I’m excited to support Juan for Assembly because I know he will be a strong champion for progress in Albany.”

The 37th State Assembly district includes the diverse neighborhoods of Long Island City, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Woodside.

Ardila’s campaign also has the support of the Working Families Party, DC37, New York Immigration Action, Make the Road Action, Open New York, Community Voices Heard (CVH), Churches United For Fair Housing Action (CUFFH) and local Democratic leaders including Emilia Decaudin, Jesse Laymon, and Derek Evers.

I’m honored to have the support of a dedicated public servant like Borough President Richards. He works hard every day to help educate our kids, keep our community safe, and he has a plan for addressing climate change,” Ardila said. “It is wonderful to have the backing of the people who understand the needs of our community and the challenges we face.”

Ardila announced the launch of his campaign earlier this year, as the Maspeth native is looking to garner enough votes in a crowded field of candidates including Johanna Carmona, Jim Magee and Brent O’Leary. Last year, Ardila fell in a tight race against City Council member Robert Holden in the 30th Council District, garnering 45 percent of the vote.

The Democratic primary for the open seat will be held on Tuesday, June 28th.

Time to elect some new political leaders

If you’re registered to vote and you have a mailbox, you’re probably aware that Election Day was this week just as this paper was going to press.
Voters went to the polls on Tuesday to elect candidates for their local City Council races, borough president, mayor, public advocate and comptroller, although the last two were hardly competitive.
In the public advocate race, incumbent Jumaane Williams is expected to win handily. He has three challengers, but none have been mounting much of a contest.
Williams is in the rare position of actually running for two offices at once. While he wants you to give him another term as public advocate, he has already announced that he is running for governor next year.
Usually when an incumbent running for reelection gets pressed about their interest in another office, they usually defer and say they are only focused on doing their current job. Then, shortly after they get voted back into said office, they announce they are running for another post.
Williams is not even bothering to hold up the pretense.
Councilman Brad Lander, who is term-limited out of office, has three challengers but is expected to win the race for comptroller easily.
In Queens, Tom Zmich has been running a competent campaign against current borough president Donovan Richards, who just took office last year after he won what was kind of a special election but not really (COVID threw a wrench in the whole process, it’s complicated) to replace Melinda Katz, so he is already being forced to defend his seat.
It will be hard for Zmich, a Republican, to not only overcome the advantages an incumbent enjoys, but the overwhelming majority Democrats hold in the borough.
But Brooklyn is assured a new borough president. Current office holder Eric Adams is running for mayor and leaving the post, and there are four candidates looking to replace him.
They are Councilman Antonio Reynoso, the Democrat, Menachem Raitport, who is running on the Conservative and Independent lines, and third-party candidates Shanduke Mcphatter (Voices for Change) and Anthony Jones (Rent is 2 Damn High). Wise money would be on Reynoso winning the race.
Speaking of Adams, he has been campaigning nonstop in the run up to this week’s General Election, as has his challenger, Republican Curtis Sliwa.
Sliwa’s campaign was nearly derailed after he was hit by a car last week. He was on his way to a radio interview on Friday when a yellow cab struck him outside Radio City Music Hall. Sliwa went on to do the radio interview, but afterwards learned that he suffered a fractured right arm.
He was treated and released, and was soon back on the campaign trail.
Sliwa held his own in two debates with Adams, and has been running a serious campaign, but he will also have a difficult time overcoming the major advantage the Democrats have among registered voters.
Perhaps a more progressive candidate would have been better for Sliwa, but Adams’ past as a member of the NYPD and his established political bona fides (whether you think that is a good thing or not), make him more attractive to some of the more moderate Democrats who could have been swayed to vote for Sliwa if a way-left-leaning candidate was on their line.
As long as we mentioned that Williams is running for governor next year, we should note that Attorney General Letitia James last week announced that she would also be challenging Governor Kathy Hochul next year.
It’s clear that one of the key strategies for James is connecting with New York City voters. Political pundits are already predicting that Queens, Brooklyn and the New York City suburbs are going to be key battlegrounds in next year’s gubernatorial race, so expect to see the candidates often over the next year.
In fact, after making her decision official last Friday, James was in Queens campaigning on both Monday and Tuesday, making appearances in Forest Hills and Ozone Park with City Council candidates Lynn Schulman and Felicia Singh.
Speaking of Singh, she is in one of the most hotly contested City Council races on the slate this year. Singh is a progressive and outspoken candidate running in a conservative-leaning district against Republican Joann Ariola.
The seat is the last one held by the GOP in Queens, which used to have several office holders at the local, state and, even if just for a short time, the federal level. Councilman Eric Ulrich is the last one.
If Singh wins, it might be a long time before the Queens County Republican Party ever elects another candidate to office.
We’ll have more on that race and all of the other important City Council races in Queens and Brooklyn next week.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing