Tag Archives: 25th assembly district

Star of Queens: Ted Teng, chair, Youth Services Committee of Community Board 11, state committeeman of 25th Assembly District


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Ted Teng

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Ted Teng is prone to say “in any way you can” when talking about giving back to the community.

Teng, who immigrated from Taiwan to New York City at age 2, has been the chair of the Youth Services Committee of Community Board 11 for the past three years and state committeeman of the 25th Assembly District since last September.

One of the CB 11 initiatives closest to Teng’s heart is the fight to keep the Beacon Program in Bayside alive. The program, which offers free after-school and summer school services to more than 700 students, is currently under threat of being shut down.

Teng’s favorite part of the job is advocacy for the community’s children and his “conversations with individuals who find themselves to be voiceless.”

“I love the fact that I can give a voice to these people,” he said.

BACKGROUND: A volunteer emergency medical technician, or EMT, for years since his college days at Stony Brook University, Teng has been known to pull over while driving to assist car accident victims. His experiences as an EMT first taught him the value of giving back.

“From there I learned the importance of helping the community in any way I can,” he said.

Outside of his volunteer work, Teng is the founder of Advanced Teaching Initiative, an after-school academic center that also runs weekend programs and summer camps.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Looking back on his most memorable moment working with the community board, Teng spoke of a letter by a Beacon Program participant. She wrote about what the program meant to her.

“The thing that spoke with me was the program’s not just about academics,” he said. “It’s social skills, arts and crafts. It really gives children a chance to learn new things.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE:  Teng said one of the biggest challenges facing the board is “getting the public to know the problems we have.” He said he hopes the future board will work on stronger outreach to “bring more voice and more press involvement.”

INSPIRATION: Teng said his two young children inspire him more than anything else.

“A lot of it is the ability to show them that especially in this area where I grew up, [it’s important to] go back to your roots and give back to it,” he said. “You do what you can. If you’re in the position to help, you should help. I was very fortunate. I was put in a very fortunate position to make a difference.”

-BY ROSA KIM

 

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Op-Ed: Empowering women


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

Women’s History Month marks my third month as an assemblymember. It is a time to recognize the women who have come before to make this world a better place. While we have many great women to celebrate, we have more work ahead. At a time when polarization is defining many of today’s headlines, it is more important than ever to discuss how women’s voices alter the conversation. How can we work together to make our voices stronger? To borrow a phrase from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, how do we make sure that we are all getting off the sidelines? How do we make sure we are not waiting in a never-ending queue or that we are equal partners in the policy and decision making process?

We have made progress in the number of women holding elected office, but women remain severely underrepresented in our political institutions. Women still only make up 21 percent of the New York State Legislature and 18 percent of Congress, so it is clear that something is missing. That gap will be filled by the next generation of female leaders, and we must do what we can to encourage them to get involved.

Women are underrepresented not because we cannot raise the money or talk to voters, but because we are less likely to even run in the first place. On average, a woman is asked to run for office seven times before she decides to run. More role models like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are needed to show young women they can aim high. There have been shining examples of this locally, particularly Congressmember Grace Meng’s historic victory this past November — a huge victory for Queens women!

I ran for office to show young women that they can do it too — that women could wake up every day, look in the mirror and know they can run and win. Mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters are good for our government and our nation.

The fight for equality will not be won simply by having more female legislators. While New York has passed many laws to ensure women’s equality, we still have many steps to take. The Women’s Equality Act proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo will shine a light on many of the problems faced by New York women and take a big step forward on issues of pay equality and reproductive rights. The Women’s Equality Act is an effort that I will continue fighting for, as it is clear that women’s perspectives lead to better understanding, better conversation, and eventually better laws.

There are also many times when women’s issues, such as reproductive rights, are discussed without input from female legislators or a discussion of how women are actually impacted. This scenario played out in Congress as House Republicans attempted to restrict access to birth control under President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Hormonal contraceptives are only available for women, yet there was not one woman on the panel invited to discuss the impact of the legislation. Underrepresentation is not always that obvious, however. The imbalance of women in public office creates a lack of female voices at times they are most needed. The simple act of more women running for office will change this dynamic, and it is important that we encourage young women to run.

Women’s History Month is about empowerment, and nothing is more empowering than knowing that no office is off limits. Politics has long been a field in which women could not imagine themselves participating, and thankfully it is changing. As the youngest female legislator in the New York State Assembly, I see firsthand the contributions that women are making in government.

I also know that as long as we continue to do good work and advocate for common sense policy, young women will play a significant role in helping our communities prosper.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic was elected to the 25th Assembly District in November 2012, representing neighborhoods in northeast Queens, including Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside and Douglaston.

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

First-time candidate Nily Rozic of the 25th Assembly District is one step closer to Albany after overtaking her Queens County Democratic Party-backed opponent by close to 500 votes last week, according to unofficial results.

“This campaign reveals the true believers, the true Democrats, the true feminists, the true progressives, the true reformers and really the true believers in the American dream,” Rozic said. “We really did big things tonight.”

The Fresh Meadows Assembly hopeful reigned triumphant by 56 percent over her rival, Community Board 11 Chair Jerry Iannece, who brought in 496 fewer votes. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Rozic raked in 2,245 votes to Iannece’s 1,749, unofficial results showed.

Rozic served as the chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh before setting forth with her dreams to reach the Capitol. At her late night victory party, held at the Sly Fox Inn on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows, she called her former boss a “brilliant political mentor.”

“I respect you deeply, more than you probably know. I really mean it when I say I struck gold when I strolled into your office on St. Mark’s Place eight years ago,” Rozic said to Kavanagh, who was in attendance. “I’ll see you in Albany.”

Kavanagh told The Courier the voters of the district made a “resounding choice” in choosing Rozic.

“She’s really somebody who’s proven herself to be someone who cares about the right issues and really cares about her community,” he said. “It’s a great night for this community and certainly a great night for somebody who’s going to be a great leader at the state level.”

Rozic went into the primary touting major endorsements, including those from the New York Times, New York Daily News, Emily’s List, League of Conservation Voters and the Working Families Party.

Iannece, an attorney and longtime community activist from Bayside, had the backing of the Queens County Democratic Party and several of the borough’s elected officials, but his ties with the county may have worked against him in the end, according to Rozic.

“The 25th Assembly District wants someone who’s independent, someone who offers a different perspective and is a fresh voice for our neighborhood,” Rozic said.

But Iannece disagreed, saying the victor won the battle based on “sleazy tactics” and dirty campaigning.

“She went out with wolf packs, bashing me at doors and poll sites, calling me anti-Semitic, handing out literature with fake endorsements from Grace Meng, suppressing my vote in Bayside Hills, calling me a political hack,” Iannece said. “I spent 25 years doing the right thing and this 26 year old, who’s done nothing, comes and bashes me and seizes the day.”

Iannece admitted to getting into a verbal fight with Rozic at a poll site over a mailer she distributed that linked her with Assemblymember Grace Meng, a popular figure in the Asian community.

Meng had endorsed Iannece over Rozic, but the palm card compares the two “strong” women as being both endorsed by the New York Times.

“It was like Pearl Harbor the way we were being attacked at the polls,” Iannece said, adding that he was also being depicted as a “machine” candidate. “I didn’t expect someone to do that vile stuff to another person. How badly do you want to win to do that stuff? That was wrong. I didn’t do that to her. But it worked. People bought that.”

Iannece — who had previously, but unsuccessfully, run for City Council in 2001 and 2009 — said it was highly unlikely for him to seek public office in the future and even to continue his role as a community board chair.

“I haven’t made my mind up yet. It’s still fresh. I’m still very emotional,” he said. “Right now, I’m thinking of packing it in with everything. I’m a little disgusted and discouraged. It’s just the wrong message.”

Rozic will take on Republican community activist Abe Fuchs in the November general election.

The newly-redrawn district mostly encompasses Fresh Meadows and parts of Utopia, Oakland Gardens and Bayside. The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who decided not to seek re-election after his failed Congressional primary run in June against Meng.

Race for Lancman’s seat heats up as he declines district leader nom


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A defeated congressional hopeful abandoned his run for re-election as party district leader, giving his county-backed opponent an uncontested free ride to the September election.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman filed declinations with the Board of Elections on July 16 to pull his candidacy in the Democratic Leadership 25th District Part A race as male district leader.

The move allows Queens County Democratic Party pick Yuen Yee Kui of Flushing to run without an opponent. By bowing out, Lancman — a decade-long district leader — will also avoid the second battle in a year with a county candidate.

Lancman defied the county in the 6th Congressional District when he chose to run against party-pick Assemblymember Grace Meng, who won with nearly 53 percent of the vote in the June 26 primary.

He pledged not to run for re-election in his current Assembly seat if his campaign fell short of Capitol Hill, but sources close to him could not specify his next plans. There is, however, speculation he may seek a run for City Council or borough president.

“Rory has other professional and political priorities right now other than running for re-election as a Democratic District Leader,” said Dominic Panakal, Lancman’s chief of staff.

Meanwhile, the race to replace him is heating up as the two Democratic primary hopefuls battle it out over their campaign war chests.

Democrat Nily Rozic of Fresh Meadows, a first-time candidate, boasted she outraised her opponent Jerry Iannece, who is a county-backed Community Board 11 chair with an army of institutional support, with over $60,000 from more than 250 individual donors across the city.

But Iannece, who holds a war chest of a little over $53,000, said the bulk of Rozic’s funds came from family members at the 11th hour and residents who live outside of the district.

According to the state’s Board of Elections financial disclosure report, more than $17,000 came from contributors who appear to be Rozic’s family members. A large majority of donors, the report shows, also live in other districts around the borough, city and some out of state.

“Money doesn’t win an election,” Iannece said. “I didn’t try to play games and show people I have support. At the end of the day, I’m going to have more than enough money to run. I’m more than where I thought I would be.”

A source close to Rozic’s campaign said it is not uncommon for large funds to come from contributors who live outside of the district and that funds from blood relatives hold the same amount in weight as those from outside the family.

“Bottom line is I outraised him,” Rozic said.

 

More hats in the ring for 25th Assembly District


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The 25th Assembly District race — which until recently only had two democratic contenders — may now have a Republican primary, as two other hopefuls have thrown their hat into the ring.

Abe Fuchs, of Kew Garden Hills, decided after much debate to run for office with hopes to restore quality education. The retired postal worker, who also spent three years in the seminary, said he did not start up an exploratory committee to make his choice, but instead “searched his heart” for the answer.

“I’m seeking office because I want to make a difference. I think I have a lot to offer,” Fuchs, 56, said.

Fuchs will formally announce his candidacy this Thursday, and while he will still have to garner enough petitions to make it on to the ballot, he will have to do so without the support of the Queens County Republican Party and face a primary with the County’s pick, William Garifal Jr.

“We usually pick the candidate that has the best chance of winning, and I believe that [William] does,” said Phil Ragusa, chair of the Queens County Republican Party. “He has community ties, and he’s worked several campaigns. You have to know what you’re doing when you’re running. I believe he was the best suited to run in the 25th District.”

Garifal, a 42-year-old Internet marketer from Flushing, was a volunteer for Councilmember Dan Halloran’s campaign for City Council and boasts of being the assistant scoutmaster for his 14-year-old twin boys’ Boy Scout troop.

“I’m looking forward to being a good example for my sons. They’ve heard me enough around the house, and now maybe I’ll get a chance to do some good,” Garifal said.

While he has not yet publicly announced his run, Garifal said he’s a serious candidate looking to be effective in the Assembly by helping lower taxes and creating “a more favorable environment for businesses.”

“In turn, I hope those businesses will create the quality jobs that we’ve lost. I think it’s a win-win for businesses and for employees if we can keep the kinds of businesses here that can create those quality jobs,” Garifal said.

The winner of the September 13 Republican primary will either take on Jerry Iannece, the Queens County Democratic Committee’s pick, or Nily Rozic, the former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh — given all four candidates gather a sufficient number of petitions by the July 12 deadline.

“The opportunity to serve your community in government is one of the highest callings there is,” Rozic said during her June 5 campaign kickoff. “Queens is facing difficult times, but I know I have the energy and ideas to meet the challenge.”

Queens Democrats unanimously endorse Jerry Iannece for 25th Assembly District


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Jerry Head Shot

Jerry Iannece, who is vying for the 25th Assembly District seat, received a unanimous endorsement by the Queens County Democratic Committee today.

“I am proud to accept the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party and excited to continue working hard to protect Queens taxpayers,” Iannece said. “Public service should be about standing up for middle class families to make sure that we expand opportunities for all our citizens. My experience first as a New York City prosecutor and now as chair of Community Board 11 has allowed me to focus on the real world issues our citizens face each and every day.”

Iannece has been a member of Community Board 11 for over 15 years and has served as chair since 2002.

“Whether it was advocating for tax relief for overburdened property owners or making sure our kids have access to a great education, I have worked hard to provide strong leadership for Queens families,” the Bayside resident said. “I look forward to continuing this fight in the weeks and months ahead.”

Iannece announced his intentions to seek election over a month ago. The hopeful has since been endorsed by the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

The 25th Assembly District seat is currently held by Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who is making a run for Congress.

According to published reports, candidate Nily Rozic will be contending against Iannece during the Democratic primary. No other candidates have officially surfaced yet.