A former de Blasio administration staffer running for an open Queens City Council seat has won the first labor endorsement of the race.
Rebecca Lynch, a member of Mr. de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit until this month and a former Democratic district leader, won the backing of Teamsters Joint Council 16 today. Ms. Lynch boasts deep ties to labor and lobbied on behalf of the Teamsters before she went to work for City Hall.
“Rebecca was raised in the labor movement and spent years fighting for Teamsters members,” said George Miranda, the president of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “She knows the challenges facing working families across our city and will be their advocate at City Hall. It’s not often that you have one of your own running for office and our members are motivated to elect Rebecca Lynch.”
Teamsters Joint Council 16 is made up of 26 local unions, representing transportation, warehousing, sanitation, public housing, deliveries, and airline workers. The local chapter of the larger Teamsters union in New York, which claims a membership of 120,000 in the New York area, is not known for tilting local elections, but their early endorsement could coax other unions into supporting Ms. Lynch. The union made headlines in the past year for representing horse-carriage drivers in their fight with Mr. de Blasio, who has sought to ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets.
Ms. Lynch is one of four Democrats running for an eastern Queens seat that Mark Weprin vacated last week. Mr. Weprin, a longtime councilman and assemblyman, resigned to take a higher-paying position in the Cuomo administration.
The Democratic primary is expected to be competitive. Ms. Lynch, the youngest candidate in the race at 27, could rack up the support of labor unions, even as the Queens Democratic Party moves closer to endorsing Barry Grodenchik, a former assemblyman. Ali Najmi, a local attorney and activist, is seeking to become the first South Asian council member in an increasingly diverse district while another former candidate, civic leader Bob Friedrich, is expected to command his own bloc of votes.
Ms. Lynch, a native of Glen Oaks, moved to Manhattan to work for Mr. de Blasio, a fact that could hurt her in the race. Both Mr. de Blasio and Manhattan are viewed with skepticism in the more conservative, suburban district.
A Democratic primary is expected to be held in September. The Board of Elections has yet to set an election date.