Turner ready to tackle the tough issues


| jlane@queenscourier.com |

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Newly-elected Congressmember Bob Turner beat the odds when he defeated David Weprin in the Special Election for Congressional District 9. Now the former businessman is getting to work in Washington, representing the people of Queens and Brooklyn.

During a brief respite from meetings and votes in the nation’s capital, Turner spoke with The Queens Courier about his new position and the hard work that stands ahead of him. He said he has dozens of pieces of legislation to examine, but most importantly he wants the people of his district represented competently.

“Among everything else, I’m busy putting together a staff and offices here in Washington. I also want to have a good constituent services operation in Brooklyn and Queens,” said the Republican who won the usually Democrat-heavy CD9. “It’s important to have people who can communicate with community leaders.”

Communication with the constituents is what got Turner into office in the first place. After former Congressmember Anthony Weiner’s public debacle, Turner dove into the race against a heavily-favored David Weprin – who was handpicked by Queens Democratic Chairman Joseph Crowley.

In an election stunner, Turner triumphed over Weprin by about 5,000 votes – enough to steal away a district that hasn’t seen a Republican representative since 1923. He did it with a mix of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, all turning out and voting in favor of the businessman. Turner attributes his improbable victory to the general public’s distaste with what he calls “politics as usual.”

“My message was largely that on jobs and the economy we are stalled, we are leaderless and the solutions continue to be political rhetoric and not concrete programs,” he said. “Everyone has had it with Congress and the [Obama] administration – they are getting most of the blame and rightly so.”

Turner’s condemnation of the Obama administration’s handling of everything from jobs to health care to Israel-Palestine relations has been well-documented. The representative-elect has even gone so far to say that the country is “on the wrong course.”

“Some of the things the president proposes in his jobs bill have the potential to stimulate employment, but it really just scraps the surface,” he said. “My approach is let’s get less government, less regulation and look to the private sector to help us out of this. The administration seems to be all about greater government involvement and greater spending – I don’t think people are buying that anymore.”

What he is offering, and what the people of CD9 voted in, is a different voice with an entirely different background.

“My approach is that of practical business solutions,” he said. “The voters were receptive to my message and I plan on carrying that out throughout my term.”