Elizabeth Crowley is running to represent our district in the New York State Senate. A single mother of two sons, Crowley was elected to the City Council twice representing the 30th District in Queens, becoming the first woman and the first Democrat ever to represent the district.
One of fifteen children, Crowley grew up in a family of politicians. Her cousin Joseph represented Queens in Congress before being defeated by Alexandra Ocasio Cortez in the Democratic primary. Her father Walter served on the City Council in the 1980s. Her mother also served for many years on the local school board. Crowley graduated Magna Cum Laude from Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in restoration and preservation. She also received an M.S from Pratt Institute in city and regional planning.
I caught up with her and asked her a few questions about herself and her campaign.
Who are you, and what is your relationship to this district?
I am a former NYC council member who grew up in Queens, the second youngest of fifteen kids, now raising two sons as a single mother. I know the struggles of our working families because I have lived them. My connection to the city and district is living and working here. I am committed to representing every resident and neighborhood of this diverse district in the NY State Senate.
I will fight to make Greenpoint and Williamsburg more livable and affordable for working families, push for funding for new public schools and improve transit while making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
I studied art restoration in college and worked on many NYC landmarks. After September 11th, I helped NYC businesses gain access to government grants which helped many to keep their workforce and stay open, and many of those businesses were in the district. While in elected office from 2009-2017 I had a record of working with my colleagues to improve conditions for working families and that is why I have received endorsements from 21 labor unions, including the teachers and the environmental advocacy group New York League of Conservation Voters.
What would you say are the top three issues of your campaign?
The top three issues that I would focus on tackling as a State Senator are 1) Affordability including housing and inflation; we have a housing emergency with little to no affordable housing in the district and the cost for all goods and services are increasing at a pace that increasingly difficult for most families 2) investing in infrastructure with a focus on transit and environmental justice; and 3) public education, from subsidizing childcare to free public colleges with support programs to graduate on time.
You have a day off, but you have to spend it all in the district. Where are you going, what are you eating, what kinds of activities are you doing?
If it was on a Sunday, I would start off with a good workout and put in a few miles of running outdoors. I would do a run I often do, which starts from the Anable Basin area of LIC and runs south parallel to the waterfront, then over the Pulaski Bridge to the waterfront streets of Greenpoint. I would finish my run at Charlotte Patisserie where I would order an iced coffee and an almond croissant. I’d then walk to McCarren Park, relax and read a book. Following that, I’d organize lunch meeting my favorite people to dine with, my sons Dennis and Owen. I might suggest a Mexican spot that I like on 26th & 2nd Ave. To get there, I would hop on the North Williamsburg Ferry to the Manhattan side of the district. I’d walk to Mexico Lindo for a late lunch/early dinner and I would order BYRD’S BURRITOS VERDES. If there was a good show playing at Irving Plaza, I would finish the day there by enjoying a live performance.
Why do you think you are the best candidate?
Experience. We are in for a difficult and uncertain time. I have led during difficult times, taking office after the financial crisis and I have a record of accomplishments that is unmatched by my opponents.
How did your time in the City Council make you a better legislator than someone with no experience?
I was 30 years old when I was elected as the first Democrat and first woman to represent my district. As a Council Member I often challenged the status quo and never stopped fighting for the working families of our City. I am ready to take this leadership experience to the upper chamber of the State Legislature and work to better the lives of not just our City residents but the entire State.
Anything else you want readers to know about you?
I am a creative person; I studied art in college, used my talents as a painter to restore landmarked buildings. For grad school I attended Pratt, and I have a degree in city planning and environmental studies, which I think is very important for this waterfront district.
I have also used that creativity in government by supporting projects and policies that fight injustices. I led the fight to close Rikers Island, also started a transit advocacy group that would better connect Brooklyn and Queens and the Governor is now supporting that plan in the Interborough Express project. I also founded a women’s empowerment organization, 21 in 21 which helped more women get elected and led to a historic first ever female majority in the NYC Council.