Council Member Donovan Richards Jr., a lifelong resident of Southeast Queens and the Rockaways, was elected to the New York City Council in March 2013.
During the 2014-2017 session, he was appointed to be the chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, which allowed him to address the decades-old systemic issue of flooding in Southeast Queens. Richards secured more than $1.5 billion to help fill the enormous sewer infrastructure hole in Southeast Queens.
As he entered the second half of his term, Richards was appointed to be the chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. This opportunity provided him the chance to be at the center of Mayor de Blasio’s push for affordable housing across the city.
Moving forward as the chair of Zoning and Franchises, he helped negotiate a stronger, more inclusive affordable housing plan and made history when the Council passed the most aggressive affordable housing policy in the nation. Since its passage, Richards worked to usher in rezonings in East Midtown and East New York, and has secured $288 million in investments for his own local rezoning in Far Rockaway.
In January 2018, Richards started his second term by being named Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, which ties back to his initial motivation for getting into politics: losing a childhood friend to gun violence.
He started off his chairmanship with oversight hearings on the NYPD’s crowd control and protest protocols, their marijuana enforcement strategies and the Special Victims Division. In addition to his chairmanship, he secured the 40-year dream of a new police precinct in Southeast Queens when Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill committed to creating the 116th Precinct in Rosedale.
Richards is also a member of the Committees on Economic Development; Environmental Protection; Land Use and Zoning; Public Housing; and Transportation. He sits on the Council’s Leadership team and serves as a Board member for the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Habitat for Humanity and has a seat on NYCHA’s Smoking and Health Advisory Committee.