Julissa Ferreras

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Julissa Ferreras
New York City Council
Assumed office
February 24, 2009
Personal details
Born Julissa Ferreras
November 2, 1976
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence New York
Occupation City councilwoman

Julissa Ferreras is a Democratic member of the New York City Council, first elected in 2009. Ferreras serves as the chair of the Finance Committee, the Council's most powerful committee. She is the first woman, first person of color, and the youngest member to be elected Finance chair.[1] The committee has oversight of the New York City's entire budget - $77 billion in FY2015. She represents the 21st district of Queens, which includes East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona, including most of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.[2]

Early career[edit]

Her career started as the leader of the Corona Youth Council at the age of 14, a community organization. She later moved on to the Presidency of the NAACP Youth Council for Corona and East Elmhurst, a chapter of the NAACP.

At age 19, after graduating from high school, she became the director of a Beacon program housed in one of the most crowded public schools in the world, Public School 19Q.[3]

Political career[edit]

Her political career officially commenced in 2001 when she became a Democratic National Convention delegate appointed by Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette. She then became the chief of staff and campaign manager for her then-predecessor Councilman Hiram Monserrate. She briefly left the public sector and went on to become the New York Director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials for two years.

In September 2008, she was named one of City & State's "40 under 40" for being a young influential member of New York City politics.[4]

New York City Council[edit]

With her election to the New York City Council District 21 in 2009, Julissa Ferreras became the first Latina elected to political office in Queens. [5]

After being re-elected for a second term in 2014, Julissa was appointed by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to the serve as the first woman and first person of color to Chair the City Council’s Committee on Finance. In this role, Julissa oversees the City’s $75.3 billion budget as well as the Department of Finance, Banking Commission, Tax Commission, Comptroller’s Office, Department of Design and Construction and Independent Budget Office. Julissa also has oversight authority on budget and tax-related legislation, fiscal policy and revenue, and certain programs and Services administered by other agencies, such as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Small Business Services. As a lead member of the Council’s Budget Negotiating Team, Julissa works alongside Speaker Mark-Viverito to determine the Council's priorities, as it relates to restoring cuts and asking for funding in the Mayor's spending plan each year, and ensure each borough in the City receives equal representation.

In addition to serving as Chair of the Committee on Finance, Julissa is a member of key Council Committees, including Committees on Public Safety, Economic Development, Standards and Ethics, Consumer Affairs, and Cultural Affairs. She is also the Co-Chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and a member of the Policy and Program Working Group, the Women’s Caucus, and the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.[6]

Finance Chair[edit]

Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras has established a record of transparency and openness to the budget process. She is advocating for Mayor Bill de Blasio to get his city budget details to the City Council earlier in the budget process. “What this is really doing to the council is, it doesn’t allow us the time to thoroughly look at the budget,” Ms. Ferreras said during a breakfast forum hosted by Crain’s New York Business in April 2015.

Ms. Ferreras has raised this point before, when she called for more accurate and timely information—and more transparent units of appropriation to make tracking budget spending easier—when the city’s budget director Dean Fuleihan testified before her committee earlier this month.[7]

"We had discussed last year at this time the commitments of making this budget process more transparent," Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who chairs the finance committee, said at the start of the hearing.

Ferreras argued that City Hall did not make good on its commitment of making public six units of appropriation, which are details within the budget on an individual city agency's expenditures.[8]

Willets Point[edit]

The last of the Willets Point auto shops are being relocated. Ferraras said that The Sunrise Auto Coop and Economic Development Corporation are now working towards finalizing a $5.8 million agreement to relocate Willets Points auto shops to a new work and business space in the Bronx.

And as part of the Willets Point deal Council Member Ferreras helped negotiated in 2013, there’s a new affordable housing development slated for Corona. The 67-unit rental building will be located 54-25 101st Street and will house low-income seniors. Amenities include a garden, community area and medical referral services, and there will be an early childhood development center on the ground floor. Construction should begin at the end of 2015 and is expected to last 18 months.[9]

Jackson Heights/Corona Business Improvement District[edit]

It looks like the controversial battle over establishing a Business Improvement District along 82nd Street is coming to an end. According to Ferreras, “Members of the community and the 82nd Street Partnership are near to reaching an agreement that will expand the Partnership from 82nd Street to 104th Street along Roosevelt Avenue.”[10]

Flushing Meadows Corona Park[edit]

The push to establish a Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance is also making headway. According to the Council Member, she “plans to hold the Mayor’s Office to its promise of establishing [the alliance] by spring.” An alliance would serve to protect the park’s historical significance and green space and establish more community programming.[11]

Higher Education and Health Care Institution for Corona[edit]

The Councilwoman also spoke on a $10 million project with Queensborough Community College and Urban Health Plan to establish a 19,000-square-foot higher education and health care institution in Corona. The facility will provide space for training and clinical rotations, as well as affordable primary and specialty health care for the community.[12]

Elmhurst Hospital[edit]

Ferreras plans to fight for funding to upgrade the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital — right now there is a $11.1 million gap in the city’s budget to do so. Her goal is to secure funding for 10,000 square feet of new space for the hospital, which would double the number of treatment bays and include five additional isolation rooms.[13]

Safer 111th Street[edit]

111th Street is a barrier to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Local residents, advocates, and Council Member Julissa Ferreras want to change that. Residents and community groups in Corona are working to tame traffic on an extra-wide street that separates their neighborhood from the largest park in Queens. They’re backed by a council member who, in addition to putting aside funds for the project, is asking the city to bring bike lanes and traffic calming to the rest of her district.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is surrounded almost entirely by highways, making access from surrounding neighborhoods difficult. One section of the park, home to the New York Hall of Science, crosses the Grand Central Parkway and extends to 111th Street. Corona residents must cross the street to get to the park. Even though it’s not an arterial road, 111th is designed like one, with up to three lanes in each direction and a center median. [14]

Steven Castro[edit]

In September 2009, Ferreras' district office hired Steven Castro, a man with cerebral palsy. Castro performed clerical work, and as of March 3, 2010 had not received a pay check. Along with not paying Castro, his hours were reduced which prevented him from receiving health benefits. Ferreras's office claimed that Castro had not received pay due to a clerical error, and that Castro would receive full back pay.[15] In October 2010, Steven Castro filed a lawsuit in federal court against Ferreras.[16] The case was dismissed on June 3, 2014 by United States District Judge Nina Gershon at a Brooklyn court.

Campaign against the Triumph of Civic Virtue[edit]

In February 2011, Ferreras joined then U.S. representative Anthony Weiner in a press conference to lobby for the removal of the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue in Queens Borough Hall park in Kew Gardens,[17] which did not lie within her district. Since the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal after which Weiner ceased to speak out on the issue, Ferreras continued to voice her desire to have the statue removed.[18]

LIBRE Scandal[edit]

From 2003 into 2008, Ferreras and her mom Josefina took turns overseeing the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment (LIBRE), which was funded entirely with public money. 16 checks totaling just over $8,000 were issued to family members and a baseball league ran by Ferreras's father. The state attorney general’s Charities Bureau says nonprofits must assign more than one authorizer to sign off on checks, but Julissa and her mother often signed checks by themselves.[19]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Julissa Ferreras District 21-Council Member-Democrat, New York City Council
  3. ^ http://archives.cityandstateny.com/rising-stars-40-under-40-4/
  4. ^ http://archives.cityandstateny.com/rising-stars-40-under-40-4/
  5. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/nyregion/25elections.html?_r=0
  6. ^ http://council.nyc.gov/d21/html/members/home.shtml
  7. ^ http://observer.com/2015/03/council-budget-chair-wants-more-detail-in-future-preliminary-budgets/#ixzz3YBt9WnNE
  8. ^ http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/03/8563410/council-raises-questions-about-transparency-budget
  9. ^ http://queens.brownstoner.com/2015/02/council-member-ferreras-announces-major-developments-in-her-district-address/
  10. ^ http://queens.brownstoner.com/2015/02/council-member-ferreras-announces-major-developments-in-her-district-address/
  11. ^ http://queens.brownstoner.com/2015/02/council-member-ferreras-announces-major-developments-in-her-district-address/
  12. ^ http://queens.brownstoner.com/2015/02/council-member-ferreras-announces-major-developments-in-her-district-address/
  13. ^ http://queens.brownstoner.com/2015/02/council-member-ferreras-announces-major-developments-in-her-district-address/
  14. ^ http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/11/10/111th-street/
  15. ^ Kim, Cefaan. Disabled Queens Man Seeks Pay For Work At Councilwoman's Office, NY1, March 3, 2010
  16. ^ SIMONE WEICHSELBAUM Ex-aide to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras sues over unpaid salary, abuse, ridicule over disability, NY Daily News, October 26, 2010
  17. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JM7440kodo, Mocker is Back at the Statue, February 26h, 2011.
  18. ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444330904577537281525699766.html Wall Street Journal, New Outrage Over Infamous Statue., July 20, 2012.
  19. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-city-finance-committee-head-ran-not-for-profit-issued-checks-family-article-1.1873229, "City Council Finance Committee head Julissa Ferreras once ran taxpayer-funded not-for-proft that issued checks to herself, parents", July 20, 2014

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hiram Monserrate
New York City Council, 21st District