|Member of the New York Senate
from the 11th district
|Preceded by||Frank Padavan|
|Member of the New York City Council from the 19th District|
January 2002 – December 2009
|Preceded by||Michael Abel|
|Succeeded by||Dan Halloran|
|Constituency||Queens: Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Robinwood; parts of Flushing, Douglaston, Little Neck|
October 27, 1951 |
|Residence||Whitestone, Queens, New York|
|Alma mater||Hunter College|
Tony Avella (born October 27, 1951) is an American politician and Democratic State Senator from the 11th New York Senate district. Avella was a member of the New York City Council from the borough of Queens from 2002 to 2009. He represented the 19th Council District, which includes neighborhoods of College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Beechhurst, Malba and Auburndale.
He served as the Chair of the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee and was a member of five other Council committees: Higher Education, Housing and Buildings, Fire and Criminal Justice Services, Land Use, and Veterans. He was the founder and Chair of the first Italian-American Caucus of the Council.
Avella opted not to run for a third term of the City Council (which was allowed by a bill passed in early 2009), in order to run in the 2009 Democratic primary for mayor of New York City. He received publicity for his stances in favor of animal rights and against overdevelopment, but was defeated by Bill Thompson.
Public service history
Avella's public service career began over 20 years ago as an aide to New York City Council member Peter Vallone, Sr. He served as an aide to Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, and as Chief of Staff to the late State Senator Leonard Stavisky and to State Senator Toby Stavisky.
In 1997 Avella was awarded New York State's Community Service Award from nominations received across New York State for his volunteer civic endeavors on behalf of New Yorkers. In 2005, he was honored by the Garibaldi Meucci Museum on Staten Island, received the 2005 Friend In High Places Award from the Historic Districts Council, the Community Mayor's 2005 Humanitarian Award and the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Legislative concerns on the City Council
Avella's historic "Demolition by Neglect" bill was signed into law by the mayor in February 2005. This legislation enables the Landmarks Preservation Commission to prevent the destruction of New York City's landmarks by property owners. Avella's legislation was supported by 46 preservation and civic groups, including the Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, and the National Historic Trust.
In 2005 Avella also forwarded a bill proposing that the Department of Transportation increase the operational duration of four public bus companies operating in his area. The bill would allow for the smooth integration of the private lines with the MTA, and was signed into law in May 2005.
An attack occurred in 2007 in his district (Douglaston), on four Asian males by two white males (one with a pending criminal case on charges of assaulting an elderly man with a claw hammer), in which racial slurs were used by the white males. In a news conference Avella convened with religious and community leaders, he referred to the two perpetrators as "neanderthals". "I don't think I've ever used that word before," he said. "But it fits them." Avella blamed developers for increasing the tension in his district.
On December 10, 2008, Avella received the “New York City Human Rights Award” for obtaining the third highest score of elected officials in New York City on the Human Rights Project’s report cards. The Human Rights Project is the lead organization of the New York City Human Rights Initiative, a city-wide human rights coalition with over 100 groups from the City. In 2009, Tony once again received the “New York City Human Rights Award,” this time for obtaining the highest score of elected officials in New York City on the Human Rights Project’s report cards.
New York State Senate
First elected to the State Senate in 2010, Avella, as a freshman senator, was appointed ranking member of the Cities and Environmental Conservation Committees, and has served on the Education, Aging, Banking, and Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committees. During his work on the Senate, he was part of two on-time budgets. As ranking member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, he led the fight in advocating for a ban on hydrofracking. He introduced legislation that would create a new lottery scratch off game whose proceeds would be dedicated to a Community Grant Fund to help struggling non-profits like senior centers, cultural groups, and little leagues, and additionally introduced legislation that would equalize co-op and condo property tax assessments with one-two and three family homes and cap state taxes on gas pump purchases.
Re-elected by an overwhelming majority in 2012, his platform focused on supporting a property tax cap and tax breaks for renters and homeowners in New York City, animal rights, and community-focused development. He has supported the communities in his district on local as well as international issues, pushing the educational and historic inclusion of 'Comfort Women', women from other Asian countries who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II, in New York State's curriculum, and most recently attending protests of Ukrainian violence at the United Nations.
Avella was honored on numerous occasions for his work in the State Senate, by multiple civic and community organizations, and has received the Geraldine Ferrara Legislative Achievement Award from the Italian American Labor Council, and the Distinguished Legislator Award, from the New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano have each presented Tony with a citation of achievement. In recognition for his work with the Korean community, he was internationally honored by the Chairman of the Gwangju City Council, in the Republic of Korea.
He currently serves as the Chairman of the Social Services Committee, and the Vice-Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee. He is a member of the Banks, Codes, Education, Housing, Insurance, Judiciary and Transportation Committees, as well as the New York City Education Subcommittee.
- "Legislative Preview: Meet The New Members". The Capitol. Manhattan Media. January 6, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- Richburg, Keith B. (2007-12-17). "Bill Could Halt New York Carriage Horses". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "Tony Avella, the Anti-Overdevelopment Candidate". Brownstoner. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "New York City Council: District 19 - Tony Avella". Council.nyc.gov. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Katz, Celeste (November 8, 2010). "State Sen. Frank Padavan Says Goodbye". Daily News. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- "Tony Avella Will Run For Queens Borough President". NY1. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "State Senator Tony Avella Drops Out Of Queens Borough President Race". NY1. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "Councilman Tony Avella". NY City Council. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
- "Mayor Bloomberg Signs Legislation Extending Bus Franchise". NYC.gov. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
- Finn, Robin (2006-08-18). "PUBLIC LIVES; Whose Queens? A Councilman Reads the Signs". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
|New York City Council, 19th District
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 11th District