Transgender activist Melissa Sklarz to challenge Brian Barnwell for Queens Assembly seat

By Ryan Kelley

With 15 years of experience serving the Democratic party in a number of roles, Melissa Sklarz is making history by running against Assemblyman Brian Barnwell in the 2018 primary.

Sklarz officially announced her candidacy on Feb. 20, becoming the first transgender person to run for the District 30 seat, which covers parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Middle Village, Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside. At 67 years old, Sklarz said she had been thinking about running for office for a long time, but the 2016 presidential election was a “call to arms” for her and many progressives, she said.

“I realized this is no time to be on the sidelines,” Sklarz said in a press release. “With our transportation network in crisis, the assault on New Yorkers with the Trump budget that slashes billions in federal assistance to vital programs, and women still lacking proper representation, I am determined to make sure all voices are heard in Albany.”

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