Who is New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and why does it matter for Roosevelt Island?


If state redistricting maps hold firm, Astoria native Michael Gianaris absorbs Roosevelt Island into his Queens-based 12th Senatorial District. Our isolated mid-river community, now covered by Bronx based José Serrano, has bounced around a lot, but this seems a better fit.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Swapping José Serrano for Michael Gianaris

Michael Gianaris/Photo: New York State Senate.

No matter what gives with redistricting, it’s important to remember that José Serrano is our state senator until the end of this year. Serrano has been a friend of Roosevelt Island. He shows up, appearing at most events, and is always accessible. And he is currently promoting badly needed legislation aimed at reeling in RIOC. Similar legislation, penned by Rebecca Seawright, also awaits state assembly approval.

No question, Serrano would win the votes of Roosevelt Islanders in this year’s election, but he probably won’t be on the ballot. Instead, we’re likely to see Michael Gianaris as his 12th district slides west and absorbs Roosevelt Island. It’s a big change connecting neighboring communities with many mutual interests. We already share police and fire protection, and you can’t drive off Roosevelt Island without visiting Astoria.

That’s made more relevant by the fact that Gianaris is an Astoria native who still lives there. A first generation Greek-American, he got his BA at Fordham and his law degree at Harvard. And he shares another local quality – Gianaris is a fighter who does a lot more than talk about it.

Tackling Amazon

When Amazon proposed using tax dollars for a Long Island City headquarters, it was in the 12th District, and Gianaris led the winning fight against it. When you think about it, he already did us a favor because we never hear Jeff Bezos’s helicopter buzzing overhead on its way to Queens.

Plus, we gain some clout. Gianaris is deputy majority leader of the state senate, and he led the 2020 Census-driven redistricting now reshaping political power. You can read more about him on his website.

We promise to keep you posted on developments as they come along.

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