Julissa Ferreras

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Julissa Ferreras
Member of the New York City Council from the 21st District
Assumed office
February 24, 2009
Preceded by Hiram Monserrate
Personal details
Born (1976-11-02) November 2, 1976 (age 40)
Corona, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Aaron Copeland
Children 1
Website Official website

Julissa Ferreras (born November 2, 1976) is the Council member for the 21st District of the New York City Council. She is a Democrat. The district includes portions of College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Jackson Heights and LaGuardia Airport in Queens.

Ferreras serves as the chair of the Finance Committee, the Council's most powerful committee. She is the first woman, the first person of color, and the youngest member to be elected Finance Chair.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Ferreras, an only child, grew up in Corona, Queens. Her parents, Josefina Ferreras-Palaez and Julio Alejandro Ferreras, are immigrants from the Dominican Republic and both are retired; she was an office aide for the city’s Human Resources Administration, and he was a subway car inspector.

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.[2]

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.

When Councilman Monserrate became involved in a scandal (in 2012, he pleaded guilty to mail fraud), Ms. Ferreras was among those questioned and cleared. “It was an experience I learned a great deal from,” she said. “It was something I overcame and was able to step into my own.” [3] “This was a lesson learned,” she said, “especially since I worked so hard at building my name and my integrity, to have this little bit of tarnish is not something I ever want to have to face again.”[4]

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.[5]

Ferreras was married to Aaron Copeland in 2015 at a ceremony officiated by Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall. Copeland is an aerospace engineer and executive.[6] They have one son, Julian, born on Sept 11, 2013.[7]

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.[8] 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 $78.3 billion budget [9] as well as the Department of Finance, Banking Commission, Tax Commission, Comptroller’s Office, Department of Design and Construction and Independent Budget Office.[10]

Ferreras has made adding public school seats a top priority of her time in elected office. Ferreras is responsible for building hundreds of school seats in Corona, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst. Councilwoman Ferreras told the New York Times that she allocated funding to build five new schools in her district and all were scheduled to open in Corona in the coming years to handle increased demand.[11]

Ferreras was instrumental in the development of Corona Plaza, a former underutilized parking space which has been transformed in a public square. Corona Plaza, at 103rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, has become a meeting place since it was turned into a pedestrian zone in 2012. Councilwoman Ferreras said the plaza has taken on the role of the central squares found in towns and cities in Latin America. “If you go to many of these countries, everyone comes to a centrally located plaza at some point in the day.”[12]

Election history
Location Year Election Results
NYC Council
District 21
2009 Special √ Julissa Ferreras (D) 45.66%
Francisco Moya (D) 25.07%
George Dixon (NP) 16.15%
Eduardo Giraldo (D) 13.12%
NYC Council
District 21
2009 Democratic Primary √ Julissa Ferreras 65.94%
Eduardo Giraldo 34.06%
NYC Council
District 21
2009 General √ Julissa Ferreras 99.99%
NYC Council
District 21
2013 General √ Julissa Ferreras 99.72%


External links[edit]

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