Monday, January 12, 2009

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley Carrying on a Family Tradition - NY Daily News

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The city council has several second-generation members who have followed in the footsteps of their parents. But newly minted member Elizabeth Crowley has them doubly beat.

Both her father and mother served in the Council - though very briefly in 1985, and in a different seat than the one she now occupies after three hard-fought campaigns.

Crowley, 31, was sworn in Wednesday to represent Queens' 30th District, which includes Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth and parts of Ridgewood, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven.

Crowley, a Democrat, deposed Republican Anthony Como by 4,369 votes in November. Como had won the vacant seat in a special election last June by edging out Crowley by 41 votes.

The two could go head-to-head again this November, when the entire 51-member Council is up for election.

Crowley also lost a bid in 2001 for the same seat against Republican Dennis Gallagher, who resigned last year after pleading guilty to a sexual assault.

In welcoming remarks, Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted that Crowley was "the third member of her immediate family" to serve in the Council. "So we're very glad you're keeping this tradition going," Quinn said.

Crowley's father, Walter, was elected by the Council in January 1985 to fill a vacancy. But he died Sept. 24, 1985, at the age of 53 - just two weeks after winning the Democratic primary for reelection. The Council then named his widow, Mary, to fill out the three months left in that term.

That seat, now representing the 26th District, was won by Walter McCaffrey, who served until term limits forced him out in 2001. The current incumbent there is Democrat Eric Gioia.

Political veterans might remember that Walter Crowley had succeeded the now-late Thomas Manton when Manton became a Congressman in 1985. Manton had succeeded Geraldine Ferraro, who gave up her congressional seat to make her historic, though losing, vice presidential bid in 1984 on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale.

To add to the political pedigree that Elizabeth Crowley brings with her, she is a cousin of Rep. Joseph Crowley, who succeeded Manton both in Congress and as Queens Democratic boss.

In brief remarks before taking her oath, Elizabeth Crowley said she was proud to serve in the same chambers where her father and mother had served.

Noting she is one of 15 children, Councilwoman Crowley joked, "You have to imagine what it was like to grow up in the Crowley family. At the dinner table ... it was hard to get words in edgewise, but it has definitely prepared me for this opportunity."