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Melinda Katz has been a dedicated public servant for nearly 20 years, serving in key governmental positions on both the city and state level.
Melinda represented the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, South Elmhurst and Richmond Hill as City Council Member for the 29th Council District from 2002 to 2009. As a City Council Member, she rose to Chair the influential Land Use Committee. Under her leadership, the committee secured private-sector partnerships that lead to the creation of over 15,000 units of affordable housing.
As head of the Land Use Committee, Melinda was responsible for approving citywide rezoning measures. She championed zoning measures that would pave the way for major redevelopment projects in neighborhoods in all five boroughs, while safeguarding communities from overdevelopment. In Queens, these neighborhoods included sections of Forest Hills, Bellerose, Holliswood, Corona, Douglaston, Middle Village, Laurelton, Flushing, Maspeth and Woodside. All together 6,000 blocks were rezoned throughout the city.
Prior to being elected to the New York City Council, Melinda served as Director of Community Boards for the Office of the Queens Borough President, Claire Shulman, from 1999 to 2002. In this position, Melinda helped to develop city budget priorities, plan economic development projects for Queens, and designate sites for city facilities.
Melinda also represented Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village and Glendale in Albany as the Assembly Member for the 28th District of New York from 1994 to 1999. During her tenure, Melinda authored and helped pass 16 laws, including requiring HMO’s to provide women with direct access to critical gynecological services.
As an Assembly Member, she also served as Chair of the Assembly’s Urban Health Sub-committee, and was responsible for bills that increased penalties for various forms of domestic abuse. Melinda also sponsored and passed the historic Kendall’s Law, which helps prosecutors pursue cases of long-term, repeated child abuse.
In 2009, Melinda was the only woman running in the Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller. Most recently, she was a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, a law firm specializing in government affairs and land use issues.
Born and raised in Forest Hills, Melinda is a graduate of the city’s public school system. She also graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and received her juris doctorate from St. John’s School of Law. While at St. John’s, she was published by the Journal of Legal Commentary and interned with the tenant rights division of the Legal Aid Society, the US Attorney’s office and Judge Michael Mukasey in the Southern District of NY.
Her father, David, was the founder and conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and her mother, Jeanne, was the founder of the Queens Council for the Arts.
Melinda lives with her partner, radio personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, and their two children, Carter and Hunter. They are raising their children in the same Forest Hills house Melinda grew up in and her parents purchased more than fifty years ago.
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