After winning the open seat for Queens’ Assembly District 31 during the primaries in June, it was widely predicted that former CUNY Queens College (QC) alumnus and runner-up for the New York State Assembly, Khaleel Anderson, would have no trouble sealing the deal on November 3. Sure enough, the political forecasting was deemed correct, as Anderson managed to secure in-person votes by an overwhelming majority of 89 percent. At only 24 years old, Anderson has now made regional history as the youngest black New York State Assembly member on record.
Originally from Far Rockaway, Queens, Anderson has always been politically engaged. This is largely due to the fact that his parents are both former union members and activists, who instilled in him the importance of community-organization from a young age. His involvement in politics began at the age of 19, where he was part of the Queens Community Board 14, the Far Rockaway NAACP chapter, and the New York Police Department’s 101st Precinct Community Council. Alongside the work he was doing for his borough, Anderson was also enrolled at Queens College, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree and Masters of Arts degree in Urban Affairs.
Anderson’s professional career started post-graduate in 2019 when he announced his candidacy to represent Southeast Queens in the State Legislature. On June 23 of the primaries, Anderson defeated the five other democratic candidates running to replace incumbent Michele Titus, and on November 4, he officially took home the victory as a New York state lawmaker. After the big win, Anderson spoke out about the significance of his accomplishment. According to the Queens Daily Eagle, he said, “this historic and impactful moment for our district marks the beginning of a new fight on behalf of working-class families in our diverse communities.” City & State NY, a New York-based newspaper, relayed another post win announcement by Anderson where he says, “I am encouraged that my work as the soon-to-be youngest assembly member in the state and youngest Black assembly member in New York State history will inspire other younger leaders across Assembly District 31 and all of New York.”
According to Shaniyat Chowdhury, a former Democratic candidate for Congress, Khaleel Anderson is “someone who’s been able to gain the trust of a community for his own childhood basically.” Chowdhury went on to support Anderson’s credibility, citing, “He’s been an activist – a youth activist, a teen activist – so he knows his community pretty well. So even if they were part of the county establishment or if they were not, just your everyday voter, people trusted him so I think that because he’s had all these years of experience.”
The Queens Daily Eagle writes that Anderson aims to not waste a single moment of his two-year tenure: “We’re facing a homelessness and a housing crisis across this city so we need housing, but we also need to make sure we have the amenities to cater to those people, so that means better schools, better hospitals, better opportunities,” the newspaper wrote. “I will be a champion for those causes because I know what this community needs.”
Khaleel Anderson has a clear vision for the safe and equitable neighborhoods he wants his constituents to live in. From fighting the negative effects climate change has on his District, to pushing for cheaper and more accessible transportation, he is committed to ending the social and economic disparities that directly affect the community he has chosen to represent.