Councilmember Eric Ulrich — considered a rising star in the Republican Party — has declared his intent to vie for the 15th Senate District seat.
“This was not an easy decision for me to make. I love the job that I already have, and I had every intention of running for re-election next fall,” Ulrich said in his announcement video. “But the stakes are simply too high. While I’ve been able to accomplish many good things at the local level, I believe that I can accomplish even more if the people send me to Albany.”
Ulrich, 27, was first elected to the council when he was 24. He won his 32nd District City Council seat during a Special Election in 2009, succeeding State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. — who is now considered his likely Democratic opponent.
In 2008, Addabbo defeated Serphin Maltese, a two-decade Republican incumbent, later winning Senate re-election in 2010 against Republican runner Anthony Como. Ulrich, a second-term councilmember and the youngest in the council, was also re-elected to a full term in November 2009.
According to Vincent Tabone, executive vice chair of the Queens County Republican Party, GOP officials had urged Ulrich to take on the current senator in an election for the past four years.
“Addabbo has been a real disappointment for the people in the 15th Senate District,” Tabone said. “We’re very excited that Eric is taking this step.”
Tabone said Ulrich is the only announced candidate on the Republican side so far.
Josh Cherwin, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Addabbo has been a “tireless advocate on behalf of the people he represents, which is why voters continue to return him to office by significant margins.”
“We expect the same to happen this year,” Cherwin said. “Few public servants have done more than Senator Joe Addabbo to stand up for the working families of Queens.”
Addabbo did not return calls for comment in time for press.
In December 2011, Ulrich was named chair of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in New York City.
If elected to State Senate, Ulrich said he would provide incentives for job creation by including tax cuts for small businesses and investing in his neighborhoods to encourage economic growth. His five-point plan to improve schools, he said, includes retaining the best and brightest teachers, building new schools to reduce the average class size, creating new school recreational space, strengthening communication between parents and teachers and accelerating student achievement with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.
“If we’re serious about revitalizing our communities, creating good paying jobs and encouraging young people like me to stay in New York, then we’ve got to lower the tax burden for homeowners and small businesses and invest in higher education so that people can compete for the jobs of the 21st Century,” Ulrich said.
The newly-redrawn 15th Senate District encompasses parts of the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and extends up to Middle Village, Maspeth, Forest Hills, Ridgewood and Glendale.