Former City Councilwoman Julia Harrison, who served as Flushing's representative in the legislative body from 1986 to 2001, died after battling an undisclosed illness on Thursday.
She was 97.
A self-described outspoken maverick in the legislative body, Harrison proudly told the Chronicle and other media outlets over the years that she refused to simply vote the party line on a number of issues.
For example, she was the only Queens Council member to vote against the AirTrain that runs between Jamaica and Kennedy International Airport, something she called a "disaster."
"Some of my Democratic colleagues would've liked to have gotten rid of me because I did what I thought was right," Harrison said in a 2001 interview with the Chronicle. "They consider me a loose cannon."
Her strong interest in issues such as women's health, the elderly and cleanliness in Flushing made her popular with many in the community, but her 15-year tenure in the Council was not without controversy.
Speaking to a New York Times reporter in 1996 about Flushing's changing demographics, Harrison was quoted as saying the increase in Asian immigrants amounted to "an invasion, not an assimilation" — in addition to a few other questionable remarks.