With less than a week before Election Day, District 22 candidates Peter F. Vallone, Jr. and Lynne Serpe hope their final push will help land them on top after all of the votes are counted on November 3.
Democratic candidate Vallone Jr., who has served in the City Council since 2002 and whose father served as Speaker of the City Council, is running for reelection against Serpe, a Green Party candidate who works full-time for an environmental nonprofit in Long Island City.
Vallone Jr., whose family name has become synonymous with Astoria for many locals, said he is the only candidate running who was born and bred in Astoria and he hopes to have “the privilege of serving this great community.”
Meanwhile, Serpe, who has raised more than $100,000 for the campaign – with $80,000 of that coming from matching funds – is campaigning in the traditional sense of making thousands of phone calls, knocking on doors and sending out mail. However, she has also taken on a somewhat different approach participating in cleanups, holding environmentally informative workshops for the pubic and hosting blood drives.
“We encourage people to explore their options and let constituents know what exists for them so they know what kind of councilmember I’ll be,” Serpe said. “I feel that I have a strong chance of winning, but it’s ultimately up to the voters.”
Vallone, who has raised more than $118,000 for the campaign, made the decision that he would not accept matching funds from the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB).
“I felt that I would have an unfair advantage, and I want to be at the same level; so I don’t have a ton of money to spend on ads,” Vallone said. “My record of service will hopefully get me reelected.”
According to Vallone, both candidates agree on a lot of the same issues, but one of the big differences is their views on public safety.
“The platform of the Green Party calls for decimating the military by 75 percent and in this day and age of terrorism that is extremely irresponsible,” said Vallone, who chairs the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
Meanwhile, Serpe has a different safety issue in mind.
“Everyone wants to feel safe,” she said. “I have a wider definition of safety, not just about freedom to walk down the street without fear of harassment, but also for men or women of color of a certain age to walk down the street without worrying about racial profiling.”
During the final campaign days, Vallone plans to continue talking about his plans to address three main issues: public safety, the environment and schools.
Serpe’s said her plan is to “stay strong, stay focused, and deal with the issues that have impacted the lives of the people in my district; things that are not just the green issues, but issues that every person worries about.”