After days of nail-biting, nervous tweeting, news application refreshing and the constant hum of radio and TV news broadcasts as voters watched for changes in the ballot counts, President-elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris solidified their victory on Saturday.
To the relief of over 50% of voters, Biden and Harris won the election with more than 75 million votes and counting –– the highest number of votes in American history –– unseating President Donald Trump, the first U.S. President from Queens.
And while many states are still counting through absentee ballots while Trump’s lawyers cry accusations voter fraud, Queens lawmakers and newly elected officials are celebrating Biden’s win of 290 electoral votes to Trump’s 240 with hopes that the new administration will unify a fractured country struggling through an ongoing coronavirus pandemic and decimated economy. As electeds charged with governing what was the epicenter of the epicenter during the virus’s peak this past spring, they are looking to the new heads of the country to help them put the pieces back together.
“Biden may indeed be the steady hand that we need at this time. And I say that as a Bernie delegate,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway). “We have to speak of healing a nation almost torn asunder.”
Sanders heard the news of the Biden-Harris win while in his office in Albany where he was preparing for a virtual community event. The community event, which took place on Monday, was about what the election means and how to leverage the new administration for the betterment of his district.
“Now comes a time where we bring things home to our districts,” he said.
The district needs massive improvements to infrastructure, he said, but first, it needs to make it through the pandemic citing concerns over the high loss of life early on in the pandemic, and the closure of small businesses in the district.
“We need to work on the pandemic first and foremost,” he said. “We did an incredible amount of dying out here that has not been adequately dealt with.”
State Assemblymember-elect Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale) also hopes for support from the new administration in fighting the pandemic.
“My district was one of those hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Rajkumar, who won her seat in last week’s election.
COVID-19 cases are rising in New York, and the second wave is upon the city, said Rajkumar. There needs to be more federal aid and better access to medicaid to help cover the coming healthcare expenses, she said.
The federal government also needs to send aid to ensure the jobs of educators, first responders and healthcare workers and to fund additional COVID-19 testing, she said, and distribute a second round of coronavirus relief checks.
“These types of relief will ensure we make it through these difficult times,” she said.