2012-09-12 / Political Page

Cuomo Endorses Stavisky In Tomorrow’s Elections

In a surprise development in tomorrow’s elections, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a warm, personal endorsement on Monday of “my good friend Toby Stavisky” and praised the Whitestone lawmaker as a “fierce advocate” for Queens.

However, it also suggested that Stavisky may be facing a hard battle in the Democratic Party primary against opponent John Messer, whom she easily defeated two years ago but has returned to face her again in the newly drawn, heavily Asian 16th senate district, where Messer’s strongest campaign weapon may be his wife Wendy, who is Asian American.

Messer, 42, a wealthy attorney and small business owner, has also featured his wife and three children in huge campaign posters printed in multiple languages to reach the Asian population.

Stavisky, meanwhile, has been waging a fierce campaign, reporting at one point that she had wrung her 50,000th door bell in the district accompanied by Assemblymember Grace Meng, the congressional candidate in Flushing, in an effort to meet as many people in her district as possible.


Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a warm, personal endorsement on Monday of “my good friend Toby Stavisky”. Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a warm, personal endorsement on Monday of “my good friend Toby Stavisky”. Now in her 12th year in the senate, Cuomo praised her in his endorsement as the chairman of the Higher Education Committee, working to make higher education accessible to all New Yorkers.

“I know that whether it’s raising the minimum wage, enacting new laws to curb gun violence, or passing historic ethics reforms, her constituents can count on Toby Stavisky to represent them with distinction,” the governor stated.

Responding, Stavisky said she was proud to have his endorsement, “just as I am proud to have worked with him to pass on-time budgets and to cut middle class taxes to their lowest point in 50 years…”

Queens voters will go to the polls tomorrow to choose party candidates who will be on the ballot in the November general elections, and in some of those races making choices became more difficult as late endorsements flowed in last week.

Republican lawmaker Eric Ulrich, seeking nomination in a state senate race with statewide implications, got the most attention in those late endorsements. However, Jerry Iannece, a Democrat seeking the nomination for an Assembly seat, picked up what could be a very helpful endorsement in his contest.

Tomorrow’s results will also bear close watching because of the population changes made in several districts that can affect outcomes in those contests. The senate majority not only jammed many Asian voters into Stavisky’s 16th district in Flushing, but also in the new 38th Assembly district in Woodhaven/Richmond Hill which gained many Hispanic voters in Assemblymember Mike Miller’s district. Both Stavisky and Miller have had tough campaigns as a result.


Last week, Councilmember Eric Ulrich was endorsed by former state Senator Serphin Maltese, (l.) and former Councilmember Anthony Como, (r.). Last week, Councilmember Eric Ulrich was endorsed by former state Senator Serphin Maltese, (l.) and former Councilmember Anthony Como, (r.). Another race being watched closely features two incumbents battling for the Democratic nomination for the 10th district state senate seat in Southeast Queens. This race became tighter recently when state Senator Shirley Huntley was indicted in a case involving misuse of state funds, giving her opponent, Councilmember James Sanders, a meaty issue to campaign on.

Both have won elections numerous times in their respective careers in the same geographic area so the candidates, both black, are evenly matched.

The elections are normally held on a Tuesday, so originally Primary Day fell on September 11, the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Rather than hold those elections yesterday, state lawmakers decided to switch them to tomorrow out of respect to and in honor of the 9/11 observance.

This is the full nine-race ballot for tomorrow:

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Shirley Huntley vs. James Sanders, 10th Senate: Toby Ann Stavisky vs. John A. Messer, 16th Senate; Jerry Iannece vs. Nilly Rozic, 25 A.D.; Barbara Clark vs. Clyde Vanel, 33rd AD; Mike Miller vs. Etienne David Adomo, 38th AD; Ron Kim, Myungsuk Lee, Ethel Chen, Yen Chou, and Martha Flores-Vazquez, 40th AD.

REPUBLICAN PARTY: Eric Ulrich vs. Juan D. Reyes, 15th Senate; and Philip Gim vs. Sunny Hahn, 40th AD.

INDEPENDENCE PARTY: Eric Ulrich vs. Joseph Tiraco, 15th Senate.

Last week, Councilmember Eric Ulrich was endorsed by the New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the city’s police officers union; by former state Senator Serphin Maltese and former Councilmember Anthony Como, leaders of the Glendale/Middle Village Republicans; and by the Citizen Union (CU), one of the city’s most influential government reform groups.

The PBA, which usually helps to get-outthe vote in elections, said in a statement from its longtime president, Pat Lynch;

“(Ulrich’s) proven track record and commitment to law enforcement are well recognized. As police officers who face, every day, the chance that we might be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, the members of the PBA would be honored to have him representing them.”

Maltese, who formerly represented the senate district, which includes Ozone Park and the Rockaways and was just expanded to take in from Ozone Park to Forest Hills, stated:

“If we are going to make Queens an affordable place to live where people can raise their families, then we need representatives in Albany who will enact the right policies. Eric has proven record of fighting for these values…”

Maltese, the former Queens Republican Party leader, showed by his endorsement that Ulrich will have GOP support in the election despite the fact that the present GOP leadership in the borough has endorsed his primary opponent, Juan D. Reyes.

In the Citizen Union endorsement, Ulrich was hailed as “a rising star” in the Republican Party who embraces many of CU’s campaign finance proposals, notably matching funds at the statewide level; and also supports an independent redistricting commission, which the GOP senate leadership in Albany rejected.

CU also sees Ulrich as “an independent and effective state legislator”, along the lines of highly respected former Senator Frank Padavan.

Meanwhile, Ulrich’s opponent, Rego Park attorney Reyes, unveiled endorsements by former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and former National Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Dole, also a former Senate Majority Leader, called Reyes a fighter who “won’t tolerate the political nonsense that has done so much damage to New York’s economy”. And Rumsfeld, a former Congressmember and White House Chief of Staff, described Reyes as “smart, toughminded, decent and hardworking” and a “solid conservative who stands for lower taxes…and strong economic growth”.

Reyes, who formerly served in the Rudy Giuliani administration, said his top priority is “to help get New York’s economy moving and bringing new jobs and industry to our state”.

Ulrich, one of the youngest members of the Council, has been very active in his district in his almost four years as a member. Despite being bypassed for the senate nomination for entrenched Queens GOP leaders, most signs point to him wining the nomination tomorrow and going on to meet incumbent Democratic state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. in the November election.

Some observers believe he has a chance to win the general election and help Republicans to continue as the senate’s majority party.

Iannece, who headed Community Board 11 in Bayside for almost 10 years and is a past president of the Bayside Civic Association, was endorsed in tomorrow’s elections by the Queens Democratic organization. He has already received many endorsements, making him the favorite against Rozic, but last week received an important endorsement from Congressmember Gary Ackerman, one of the most highly respected lawmakers in the borough with a loyal following. Previously he was endorsed by Congressmembers Joseph Crowley and Carolyn Maloney, the UFT and several major labor unions.

In his endorsement, Ackerman wrote that he had closely been following Iannece’s community activities and found him “a strong and dedicated leader…and this experience will make him a great Assemblyman in Albany”.

Rozic, who’s chief of staff to an Assemblymember, is also very active in environmental causes. She has her main support in the Fresh Meadows portion of the 25th AD where she resides. It was merged into the 25th AD in the latest reapportionment.

Besides Ackerman, Iannece was endorsed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who said of Iannece: “At every level of local government, he has worked to improve his community and I am excited to see him work in Albany.”

In the 38th AD, which stretches from Ridgewood to Woodhaven, incumbent Miller is opposed by Adomo, who has campaigned mainly in Hispanic areas. In the latest reapportionment, the Hispanic population was increased, strengthening that group’s political clout. However, Miller, the Democratic incumbent maintains he has never underserved any constituents in any area, and he feels he will be vindicated by a victory tomorrow.

Another predominantly heavy Asian district that evolved from the Assembly reapportionment was the 40th AD that was created in Flushing. Five Democrats are seeking the Democratic nomination there, four of them Asians. Of these, Attorney Ron Kim offers a resume which includes stints at jobs in several agencies, which make him most qualified. Also of some note is Myungsuk Lee, a weekly newspaper publisher in Flushing.

VALLONE BILL NIXES UNWANTED SOLICITORS: After Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.’s office got countless complaints about aggressive, rude and persistent solicitors calling on Astoria residents, he decided to introduce a bill making it illegal for door-todoor sales people to enter a residential property if a sign barring solicitors is displayed.

Vallone says current law only prevents menus, advertising pamphlets and other commercial materials from being left on a private residence if a Do Not Solicit sign is posted.

The lawmaker says, “It is common sense that if we can ban menus and supermarket coupons from being left on our property, then we can also keep pushy sales people and scam artists from disturbing us at home. Now solicitors will know that if there’s a sign, there’s no sale.”

Vallone, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he was initially bothered because the pushy solicitors annoying residents were employees of “nebulous energy companies” that gave the impression that they worked for Con Edison. He said there were also numerous complaints about potential scams being perpetrated in the community.

GOLDFEDER SEEKS FUNDS TO RESTORE ROCKAWAY RAIL LINE: Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder (D–Rockaway) has asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to review the possibility of using federal funds to restore the Rockaway Beach Rail Line. “In our tough economy, it is important that we invest in infrastructure projects that will not only put thousands of residents to work, but also prepare Queens for future growth and expansion.”

The lawmaker says that the restoration of the rail line is needed now more than ever because there are limited transportation options in Queens. He points out that the borough has recently seen a large population and construction boom, pointing to the opening of the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack, the rebirth of the Rockaway Peninsula as “a tourist haven”, and the growing population.

To push his request to the governor, Goldfeder said he will soon deliver a petition to him signed by more than 3,000, and asking that the governor and the MTA “consider every option to restore the old line”.

VALLONE BROTHERS ‘LIFESAVERS’: Recognizing their effort in saving two young girls from drowning in New Jersey several weeks ago, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and his brothers Perry and Paul were honored last Sunday as they were awarded the New Jersey Assembly Humanitarian Lifesaver Award during the Indian Jewish Council’s Salute to South Asia event at Flushing Town Hall.

The awards were presented by the event’s keynote speaker, Upendra J. Chivukula, the New Jersey Assembly’s Deputy Speaker. Among those at the presentation were their parents, former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and his wife Tena.

SCHUMER: LIVE BUGLERS TO CONTINUE AT MILITARY FUNERALS: Responding to recent warnings that budget cuts may force the National Guard to end using live buglers at military funerals, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said that the tradition will continue. New York’s senior senator said he had secured a clarification that feared budget cuts would not occur for New York.

“The families of our fallen military heroes can rest a little easier knowing that their son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father, sister or brother, will get the dignified send off they deserve if the worst befalls them,” Schumer declared, adding:

“This is a great nation and a hallmark of a great nation is treating its fallen warriors with the respect they deserve, and by preserving the live playing of Taps we have taken a step in the right direction today.”

NOLAN’S 10 BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW: Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, chair of the Education Committee, reports that Governor Cuomo has signed all 10 of her bills into law for this session. She said nine of them deal with education, and the final one advances the development of Hallet’s Point in Astoria. That bill would include a new affordable housing development and open public access to the area’s waterfront.

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