New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias
Yes, it’s romantic to say that political interest seems to be instilled in the Greek soul, but the increasing number, throughout the United States, of Greek Americans elected to office suggests that this may not be a myth.
From January 2021 there will be six Greek Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives – one more than the previous Congress – increasing thus the power of the Community to raise concerns regarding Greece, Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
As of this writing, we sit gripping our seats waiting for news on which presidential candidate first reach the requisite number of electoral votes to win the presidential election, but ballot-counting for the 2020 New York elections has ended, with the Republican and Conservative Party House candidate Nichole Malliotakis, and the Republican nominee for the East Shore’s state Assembly seat, Michael Tannousis victorious over their Democrat opponents, Max Rose and Brandon Patterson, and Senator Alex Giannaris re-elected.
Nicole Malliotakis, a five-term New York State Assemblywoman since 2011, won House District 11 over Democrat Assemblyman Max Rose (57.9 to 42.1). District 11, which is considered to be New York City’s only swing congressional district, covers Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge.
The other five Greek American congressmen re-elected are: Maryland, Democrat John Sarbanes, Florida Democrat Charlie Crist, of Cypriot descent, Nevada Democrat Dina Titus and New Hampshire Democrat Chris Pappas. Also Florida Republican Gus Bilirakis.
Michael Tannousis, Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Brandon Patterson for New York State Assembly District 64, to succeed Nichole Malliotakis (63.73 to 36.13%). District 64 covers the East Shore of Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn.
Senator Michael Giannaris, who represents New York’s 12th Senatorial District, ran unopposed in the general election, handing him an automatic win once the polls closed Tuesday night in New York City. New York’s 12th Senatorial District covers Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, as well as parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Woodhaven.
Nicole Malliotakis victory speech at her Staten Island headquarters celebrated the return of the “11th Congressional District to the hands of the Republican and Conservative Party,“I entered this race with eyes wide open knowing that victory wouldn’t come easy. But, from the start I knew this race was never about me. This race was always about you, the hardworking New Yorker who obeys the law, pays their taxes and gets up every morning and goes to work,” and “about a shining city that, in a matter of months, lost its luster, closed its businesses, boarded up its windows and turned over its streets to the criminal element.” The race was “about the brave men and women of the NYPD and all our law enforcement and first responders” and “the struggling immigrant family,” about “a nation on the verge of losing its way and a political party that seems intent on leading us on a destructive path towards Socialism,” and “members of that party, with names like Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, AOC and Max Rose, who were all too happy to needlessly attempt to impeach our President, Donald Trump and do or say anything to defeat him and our Republican Party… They don’t understand the voters of the 11th Congressional District; they are good and decent people who can’t be bought and won’t tolerate being lied to.” “Tonight’s victory is not mine alone, it’s the victory of everyone here tonight and those at home or in their business watching on T,” she concluded, “Savor our victory tonight; we have thank you for your support and making this victory a reality.” Nichole Malliotakis’s Greek father and Cuban mother are both immigrants to the U.S.
In his victory speech at Nichole Malliotakis’s headquarters, Michael Tannousis said he didn’t take anything for granted during what was a year and a half-long, “hard-fought primary.” Tannousis has been a prosecutor, beginning his career in public service in 2006 when he was hired as an aide to then-Minority Leader James Oddo, an Assistant District Attorney working on Staten Island under Democratic District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, counsel to City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore), and in the Bronx DA’s office where he honed his craft prosecuting misdemeanors and later major offenses. “I worked hand in hand with the New York City Police Department to keep our streets safe and I decided to run for this seat once I realized what the State Assembly was doing. There is a radical progressive movement, I’ve said many times, controlling our State Legislature, and it’s affecting our quality of life and it is compromising our safety.” He thanked Malliotakis for believing in him, saying he is looking forward to taking on the battles that she fought, “and continuing to be the common-sense voice that is lacking in this State Legislature.” Michael Tannousis, a lifelong Staten Islander, is the son of Cypriot immigrants who came to America after being displaced by armed conflict in Cyprus.
Senator Michael Gianaris serves as Deputy Majority Leader: Co-Chair, Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Guided by the principle that “the playing field between everyday New Yorkers and powerful interests is grossly skewed in favor of the wealthy,” Senator Gianaris is “a progressive champion for tenants’ rights, better subways, election reforms, a fairer criminal justice system, LGBTQ+ rights. Senator Gianaris has said that as a first generation American, a child of immigrant parents, he knows the struggle of immigrant families, so leads the fight against harmful federal policies that tear apart families and unfairly discriminate against immigrant communities. He works with community groups to reunite families separated at the border and wrote legislation barring discrimination based on immigration status. Gianaris stands with tenants, consistently supporting better rent laws to abolish vacancy decontrol and preferential rents. Gianaris authored legislation to eliminate the often-abused Major Capital Improvements (MCI) and Individual Apartment Improvements (IAI) programs, taking on unscrupulous landlords like the Trump organization. Michael Gianaris was born and raised in Astoria, Queens, where he continues to reside.
James Skoufis (Dem. 39) returns at the State Senate, after beating with 53% Republican Steve Brescia (47%)
At the 2nd District in Suffolk County, former NY State policeman Mike Siderakis, a Democrat, has been defeated by Republican Mario Mattera (64% – 36%).
In the New State Assembly Greek Americans also run in the following races:
23rd District: Stacy Pheffer Amato* Dem. 58% against Peter Hatzipetros Rep. 42%.
26th District: John Alexander Sakelos Rep. 52% Edward Braunstein* Dem. 48%. There are many absentee ballots to be counted.
108th District: John McDonald* Dem. 65% Peter Papanicolaou Rep. 26%