By David Brand
It’s an exciting time to be a Democrat in Queens.
The borough fueled the rise of star U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was officially sworn into Congress this week. And Queens Democrats ushered in a progressive delegation of state senators, including John Liu and Jessica Ramos, who toppled former members of the Independent Democratic Conference.
It’s also a confusing time, with various factions among Democrats negotiating the future direction of the party, the disputes evident in different responses to the Amazon deal.
Whitestone native Breeana Mulligan, the new president of the Queens County Young Democrats, says she looks forward to channeling that percolating energy and building bridges among the different perspectives.
“Queens has had a wild year and I’m looking forward to more good things to come,” Mulligan told the Eagle. “Everybody has different ideas and that’s great. As Democrats, we invite all young people to come to the party, whether they identify as centrist Democrats, moderate Democrats or progressive Democrats — they all have a seat at the table.”
Mulligan, who lives in Astoria and graduated from St. John’s University, serves as spokeswoman for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. In that role, she has forged deep connections within city politics, relationships she will build on as president of the QCYD.
Mulligan declined to label her ideology, instead saying she believes “in equality across the board” and advancing the causes of Queens Democrats who are in power, especially in the state Senate
“I believe that everyone deserves a fair shot,” she said.
The Amazon deal has been the most recent issue to expose divisions among Queens Democrats, with some leaders, like Borough President Melinda Katz and Western Queens Assemblymember Catherine Nolan embracing the deal and others, like City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and State Sen. Michael Gianaris criticizing the city and state tax incentives as corporate welfare.
Last month, more than 40 members of the Queens Democratic Committee signed onto a letter criticizing the deal.
“It’s not about being progressive or not, it’s about being transparent,” one member told the Eagle. “The deal was done in the shadows.”
Mulligan said she welcomes such debates among Democrats and for now, remains content leading the QCYD and playing a vital role in the city council. But she did not rule out one day running for office herself.
“I’m definitely someone behind the scenes, but I won’t take anything off the table, especially right now,” she said. “I’m focused on working for the speaker.”