A northeast Queens legislator has joined the large circle of Democrats vying for next year’s borough presidency.
State Senator Tony Avella, 61, announced he will run to replace outgoing Borough President Helen Marshall.
“I think Queens needs a voice, and I don’t think we’ve had that,” said Avella, who won re-election to his Senate seat earlier this month. “The office of the borough president could be much more involved in handling the borough-wide issues. I just think we could do a much better job.”
The former two-term city councilmember said he is “continually frustrated” at unhandled problems in Queens, including tree maintenance, curb replacement and school issues.
Superstorm Sandy, Avella said, could have also been less devastating if the borough leader fought for resources that instead went to other parts of the city.
“It runs the gamut,” he said. “What really made the decision for me was the lack of preparation and response to Queens after the hurricane. I thought the office of the borough president could have been much more visible and much more active.”
Other big name Democratic candidates who have announced their intent to vie for the seat include Councilmember Leroy Comrie, State Senator José Peralta and former legislator Melinda Katz.
Councilmember Peter Vallone and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik are also rumored to be eyeing the position.
“I think I have widespread name recognition throughout the borough,” Avella said. “I think I take a much more hands-on approach, which I think is really necessary.”
Avella said he would seek an endorsement from the Queens County Democratic Committee but would run regardless of the party’s support.