Illegal Conversions

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall

Helen Marshall, President of the Borough of Queens, New York City


Helen Marshall was elected overwhelmingly as Queens Borough President in November 2001 with 68 percent of the vote.

She is the 18th Borough President of Queens, the first African American and the second woman to assume the post of the highest elected official in a borough with a population of more than 2.2 million people.

Prior to her election as Queens Borough President, Ms. Marshall represented the 21st District (Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and LaGuardia Airport) in the City Council for ten years. She was first elected to the post in 1991, securing 96 percent of the vote. As the first minority and woman elected from the district, she worked to enrich and unify an extraordinarily diverse community. Before leaving the City Council, she served as Chair of the Higher Education Committee and was a member of the Housing & Buildings, Environmental Protection and Women's Issues Committees. She also was Co-Chair of the Council's Black and Latino Caucus.

As Chair of the City Council's Higher Education Committee, Ms. Marshall successfully fought against the privatization of the City University of New York. She was also one of the founders of the Langston Hughes Library and provided funding for the expansion and upgrade of every library in her district. She has also been an advocate for quality health care, senior citizens and the environment. She secured funds to restore the City's free dental clinics, led the fight to prevent the sale of Elmhurst and Queens Hospital Center and has fought for many years to protect Flushing Bay from the impacts of LaGuardia Airport. She also provided funding for two new senior centers in her district and for vans to transport seniors. Ms. Marshall was also the primary sponsor of legislation to relieve senior citizens' contributions to Medicare Part B.

Ms. Marshall, a native New Yorker, has been in public service for 20 years. Before her election to the City Council, Marshall was elected in 1982 to the first of five terms in the New York State Assembly. For eight years, prior to her election to the Assembly, Ms. Marshall was an early childhood teacher. She left teaching in 1969 to become the first Director of the Langston Hughes Library - a post she held for five years. She also was Director of the Elmcor Testing Assessment and Placement Program for eight years. In 1975, she became a Democratic National Committee Committeewoman and was elected in 1974 as a Democratic District Leader. Throughout her career, Marshall has been an advocate for public libraries, job training programs and economic development projects. She was a parent activist in the City's public schools for 15 years, a member of Community Board 3 for 13 years and a founder of the Queens County Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Borough President Marshall is a graduate of the City's public school system and has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Queens College. She has also taken graduate courses in Education at the Bank Street College, and Public Administration at Long Island University.

She is married to Donald Marshall and is the proud mother of two children, Donald Jr., an electrical engineer, and Agnes Marie, who is employed in the fashion industry. Ms. Marshall also has two grandchildren, Chandler and Chasen, the children of Donald and Charlena.