NEW YORK – Stefano Forte is running for New York State Senate in District 16 which is located in central Queens, including parts of Flushing, Forest Hills, Elmhurst, Murray Hill, Bayside, and Woodside. Forte, a Republican who is of Greek and Puerto Rican descent, was born in Astoria and raised in Flushing. He spoke with The National Herald about running for office and how his Greek heritage has influenced his life.
Both sides of Forte’s family have lived the “American Dream.” According to his biography, his mother Evdokia Loudaros and her family immigrated to the United States from Amorgos, Greece, in 1971. Forte’s grandmother Sophia Loudaros was a stay-at-home mother who raised her four children while his grandfather George Loudaros supported the family by working on construction sites and ships. Stefano’s father Eric Forte was born in Queens to Luisa Lopez, a single mother who left her family in Puerto Rico to pursue a better life in New York City. All on her own, she worked hard and opened her own clothing factory, eventually selling her clothing in Macy’s and other department stores.
TNH: Were you always interested in pursuing a career in politics?
Stefano Forte: Even though I was always interested in politics, I wasn’t always sure that I was going to run for something. I thought I would perhaps end up consulting on campaigns, but my true original life plans were to start my own company the same way my parents did.
TNH: When did you make the decision to run for State Senate?
SF: My decision to run for State Senate came after the tumultuous events of 2019 and 2020: the brutal Black Lives Matter riots, exploding crime in our city, the COVID lockdowns, and the general sense that my generation is the first in American history to be less well-off than our parents. I saw and continue to see how politicians in our state government seem to have contempt for their own constituents. They make us less safe, strip us of our liberties, pick our pockets, and make it impossible to do business in New York. This cannot continue.
TNH: What is the issue you would tackle first as a State Senator?
SF: The first issue I would tackle in the State Senate is cashless bail, which needs to be completely and totally repealed. In 2019 our elected officials decided that it was a good idea to let violent career criminals out of jail with no bail whatsoever. This insane policy, perhaps more than any other, has directly led to the huge spike in crime we’re now living through. Lowering crime must be the first priority of any serious campaign because that is what is impacting New Yorkers the most. Criminals cannot be allowed to walk our streets and terrorize our neighborhoods. There will be no recovery in New York without public safety, it’s as simple as that.
TNH: How has your family reacted to your decision to run?
SF: My family is the biggest blessing in my life. They have been there for me throughout this entire process. They know how much I love this country and, even though it’s difficult, they understand that this is what I feel I have to do in order to make a difference. I have two little godchildren, Gianni and Panagioti, and a teenage cousin named Panagioti. I see the world they are growing up in and it scares me. I want them to know the real America; I want them to know that this country is the land of opportunity. I want them to be able to live in a city that is safe, affordable, and family-friendly. My family knows that, at the end of the day, I am doing this for them.
TNH: How has your Greek heritage influenced your life?
SF: My Greek heritage has influenced my life a great deal. When I was in school I learned about great leaders like Alexander the Great, Agios Konstantinos, and Theodoros Kolokotronis. Their stories taught me that, as a leader, you must always have both your nation and your family as your first priorities. My Greek heritage is what made me interested in philosophy and government. In college, I majored in political science and philosophy and learned the teachings of great Greeks like Socrates and Plato. My Greek heritage taught me what it means to be a leader, and I look forward to bringing the gift and richness of my heritage into the State Senate.
More information about Stefano Forte is available online: https://stef4senate.com/.