Tag Archives: congressmember bob turner

Turner’s attention turns toward helping Long in Senate race

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

turner long

After Congressmember Bob Turner’s loss in the U.S. Senate Republican primary, it is unclear what he’ll do next, as his district will be split up at the end of this year.

Turner lost the Republican primary to Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long — who will now run against incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Despite the loss — and a major endorsement from former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani — Turner said after Long’s victory that he would work to support the nominee in her run against Gillibrand.

“I pledge to work with Ms. Long to unite all Republicans and Conservatives in the effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November,” he said.

Turner, a Queens native, recently made headlines when he protested a principal’s decision not to have children sing “God Bless the U.S.A.” at P.S. 90’s moving up ceremony. Turner showed up at the Brooklyn school with a group of flag-waving children, who sang a rendition of the 1984 country music hit.

Before seeking a life in public office, Turner worked in media entertainment companies. He retired in 2003. Turner, according to his congressional biography, spent his entire life living within District 9.

The former cable executive twill have served just more than a year on Capitol Hill, representing areas including Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Maspeth and the Rockaways. These neighborhoods will now be part of Districts 6, 7 and 8.

Turner won the special election last September, beating out State Assemblymember David Weprin following the resignation of Anthony Weiner, and became the first Republican to hold the seat since 1922. Prior to that, he ran against Weiner in the 2010 Congressional election.

“This is a historic race,” Turner said upon his 2011 victory.

Repeated calls to Turner’s representatives for comment on future plans were not returned.

Glendale residents may get a ZIP code of their own

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Most of Mary Mendez’s mail says she lives in Ridgewood.

The Glendale resident has grown used to the fact that when ordering items online, her address will come up as Ridgewood.

“Most of the time I’ll just tell people I live there [in Ridgewood],” Mendez said.

The address confusion stems from the fact that Glendale and Ridgewood share the 11385 ZIP code — and have for more than 30 years.

Congressmember Bob Turner and Assemblymember Mike Miller want to change that, though, and have submitted an application to the United States Postal Service (USPS) for a unique Glendale ZIP code.

“Glendale is a unique community and should have its own ZIP code,” Turner said. “Sharing a ZIP code has created numerous, and sometimes dangerous, problems for Glendale residents, such as delays in medication delivery and first responder services.”

Prior to 1979, the neighboring communities shared their zip code with a third neighborhood in another borough — Bushwick.

Residents of the Queens neighborhoods wanted to disassociate with Bushwick following the 1977 riots and were given the ZIP code they have today.

Miller called the lack of an individual ZIP code a serious issue that needs to be addressed. “Real people are affected,” he said.

More than 1,000 Glendale residents signed a petition asking for the change.

Many feel the problem goes deeper than mail addressed to Ridgewood.

“It’s about a community identity, about keeping communities together,” said Nick Roloson, Miller’s chief of staff.

“Most people aren’t sure where Glendale is; it’s kind of no man’s land,” said Mitch Lindstedt, a Glendale resident. “I feel the lack of a ZIP is a big reason why.”

Turner said that 11384 is available and would allow the USPS to easily remedy the situation with the change of a single digit. An answer should come by the end of the summer.

Repeated calls to the USPS for a comment went unreturned.


15th State Senate District endorsements rolling in

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

In the race for the 15th State Senate District, candidates have been garnering certain key endorsements.

Congressmember Bob Turner endorsed City Councilmember Eric Ulrich — as the Ozone Park native will face off in a primary against former mayoral aide Juan Reyes. The winner of the race will then go up against incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo.






“Eric is part of a new era of leadership that will make state government work again,” Turner said. “I have the great fortune of serving alongside him and I’ve seen first-hand his commitment to the community. He understands the kitchen-table issues that Queens families are facing and he is by far the most qualified candidate to bring New York out of its economic decline and put people back to work.”

Both represent the same area in their respective government bodies.

This endorsement comes after the 27-year-old councilmember got backing from the Queens Conservative party last week, and then the Independent Pary on June 4 — an endorsement given to Addabbo in 2010.

In order to run against Addabbo, however, Ulrich must first beat Reyes, a formal mayoral aid, in the June 26 primary. Reyes, a Forest Hills lawyer, received an endorsement from the Queens GOP.

The GOP choice has not affected the Ulrich campaign; rather, its members say a primary would strengthen the camp. Supporters of Ulrich are confident he will come out the victor of the primary, said Bill O’Reilly, his campaign spokesperson.

“Sometimes a primary can work out the kinks in a campaign,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a good practice-run for a general election.”

Ulrich — whose current city council district comprises a big chunk of the senate district — has the support of many party members in his zone, which includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Lindenwood, O’Reilly said.

“We think that’ll be an advantage going into election day,” he said. “Both in the primary and the general election.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo has received endorsements from the United Federation of Teachers and other unions. While it is still early in the election, Addabbo said he has been focusing on business in Albany and meeting with his district’s constituents.

World War II vet gets Purple Heart

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner

Congressmember Bob Turner recently held a ceremony to honor 93-year-old World War II veteran Anton Dietrich Jr. of Richmond Hill, presenting him with the Purple Heart for his actions during the Battle of Sedjenane, Tunisia in 1943.

The event, held at the Sgt. Edward R. Miller VFW Post 7336 in Richmond Hill, began with Disabled Americans Veterans Chapter #118 Commander Louis Nicoletti welcoming everyone and leading those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Turner then thanked the distinguished guests and told the story of Dietrich’s life.

“Anton Dietrich has shown the type of bravery and resilience that every American should aspire to,” said Turner. “Neither a German torpedo that left him stranded in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea nor the injuries he sustained from the shrapnel of a German mortar in Sidjenane could break Mr. Dietrich’s will. His actions in battle are a testament to why he and all of the other heroes that fought during World War II are truly part of the Greatest Generation.”

Captain Christina Mouradjian of the Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn then read the history of the Purple Heart before Turner pinned the medal onto the veteran.

“It is an award that no one seeks but an award I am proud to wear,” he said.

Commissioner Terrance Holliday of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs read a letter on behalf of Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanking Dietrich for his service to the country.

“I have been able to present 12 medals to WWII veterans since taking office,” Turner said following the event. “Each one of them serves as a special opportunity to give thanks and recognize the heroes who deserve it most. If it weren’t for the sacrifices of the men and women who fought in this war, we would not have the freedoms or opportunities that we often take for granted today.”

Dietrich was awarded the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster for injuries sustained while serving with the Army’s 39th regiment, 9th infantry division, 2nd battalion, Company G, on April 28, 1943, in support of the Allied invasion of North Africa in World War II.

The Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster is a U.S. Armed Forces individual military decoration awarded for “being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces.”

More than 700 World War II veterans die each year. Seventy five percent of those veterans living today are 85 or older.

Judge redraws Congressional district lines

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The failure of the State Legislature has left a panel of federal judges with the final decision on district lines.

Due to the state government’s inability to come to an agreement on Congressional redistricting, the panel imposed a court-drawn, revised map on March 19.

The court’s ruling reduces the number of districts from 29 to 27 as a result of the 2010 Census. The map – which is very similar to the one originally drafted by the panel-appointed magistrate, Roanne Mann – breaks and dissolves the Brooklyn and Queens territory currently represented by Republican Congressmember Bob Turner into several surrounding districts. Congressmember Maurice Hinchey – a Democrat who plans to retire at the end of his current term – has also had his Hudson Valley district eliminated.

New York was among the last states in the country to deal with redistricting, forcing the court to tackle the task.

“Faced yet again with a dysfunctional state legislature, the federal judiciary in New York must now undertake the ‘unwelcome obligation’ of creating a plan redrawing the State’s electoral districts for the United States Congress,” Mann said.

The panel, composed of Dora Irizarry of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn and Gerard Lynch and Reena Raggi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, were obligated to act with a sense of urgency in order to complete the lines by March 20 – the first day candidates for Congress can collect signatures to qualify for a position on the primary ballot. The primary was previously moved up to June 26 in order to ensure residents serving overseas in the military had adequate time to vote by mail.

“In prior redistricting challenges, New York has avoided such a wholesale transfer of state legislative power to the federal courts through last-minute enactments of new redistricting plans,” the panel wrote. “In this case, however, New York has been willing to let even the last minute pass and to abdicate the whole of its redistricting power to a reluctant federal court.”

Richard Mancino and Daniel Burstein, the attorneys who represented a group of civic leaders in a lawsuit aimed at urging the federal courts to take control of redistricting, praised the panel’s decision.

“Through this well-reasoned decision, the court has adeptly responded to the exigent circumstances caused by the Legislature’s failure to enact its own congressional redistricting plan,” said the lawyers. “Our clients wish that an independent redistricting commission could have drawn these districts, but we are grateful that the independent judiciary stepped in to fill this void and create its own principled plan.”

As part of the plan, a large portion of Turner’s territory will be absorbed by the new Sixth Congressional District – which has drawn interest from a number of elected officials since Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s stunning announcement that he will not seek a 16th term in office.

Assemblymembers Grace Meng and Rory Lancman and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley have already come forward and announced their intentions to run for Ackerman’s seat. Meng was selected as the nominee of the Queens Democratic Party.

Turner has abandoned his hopes of Congressional re-election and opted to seek both the Republican and Conservative nomination in hopes of defeating Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The court redrew only the Congressional district maps, however, as the Legislature was able to agree upon Senate and Assembly boundaries. The maps drawn the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) – made up largely of Republican senators – were approved and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 14, along with a bill creating a bipartisan commission to draw district lines in 2022. The new lines must still be approved by the Justice Department to ensure they do not disenfranchise minority voters.

Congressmember Turner to run for Senate

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


With his seat potentially KO’d, Congressmember Bob Turner has thrown his hat into a different ring.

Turner, whose district was recommended for elimination as part of Magistrate Roanne Mann’s proposed congressional maps, announced on March 13 that he plans to run for Senate. The congressmember will seek both the Republican and Conservative nominations to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

“I ran for the House six months ago as a private citizen fed up with what is happening in Washington,” said Turner. “I could not sit and watch career politicians sink my nation deeper into economic crisis. Brooklyn and Queens voters, of all political parties, graciously responded by sending me to Congress. It now appears that their district has been eliminated. There is serious work to be done to get this economy back on track, and I will not walk away from that work now. I will run for the Senate, and I will run to win.”

Despite being “good friends” with Turner, State Conservative Party Chair Michael Long believes Wendy Long, a lawyer and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has already established herself as the favorite of the Republican Party.

“It is very sad that they cut up [Turner’s] district the way they did, but I think it is too late for him to enter this race. He came to the table too late,” he said. “[Wendy Long] has soaked up most of the energy and enthusiasm from the leaders up and down the state of New York, and it is going to be very hard at this late date for Bob to run.”

Long, who helped Turner with his congressional election last year, continued by saying he does not believe Republican leaders will switch their support to Turner. He also said Long is considered more capable of winning the seat.

“[Wendy] makes a stronger candidate against Gillibrand,” said Long. “She’s very knowledgeable and a very good debater. She was like a rock star at the fundraiser in Albany on March 12. While the title of congressmember would be helpful [to Turner], Wendy Long has the intellect and the background that fits this position.”

Will Turner’s district disappear?

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


A federal magistrate’s recent re-drawing of state congressional lines leaves Congressmember Bob Turner as the odd man out.

Magistrate Roanne Mann’s revised maps released on March 6 would eliminate Turner’s Brooklyn-Queens district and may reportedly force him to run for the same seat belonging to Congressmember Gregory Meeks in a Democratic and heavily African-American area.

According to published reports, State Senate GOP officials fought to protect Turner while Assembly Democrats pushed for his district to be eliminated.

“The redistricting plan introduced today by the Special Master is just another step in the process,” said Turner, who won a Special Election last year to fill the seat of disgraced Congressmember Anthony Weiner. “I am prepared to run in whatever district I reside in once the final lines are adopted.”

Mann was appointed by a panel of three federal judges to create a redistricting plan eliminating two of the state’s 29 congressional seats after legislative leaders were unable to come to an agreement. The elimination of the seats was reportedly mandatory due to national population shifts over the past decade.

The magistrate’s proposed map is not final however, as her draft is expected to boost talks between state legislative leaders who are now aware of the court’s direction.

If the legislators are unable to pass their own plan by March 12, Mann’s map will become final, due to the need for congressional candidates to choose what district they will run in before they begin circulating nominating petitions on March 20.

Congressmember Gary Ackerman has already come forward and announced he plans to run for re-election in the new Sixth Congressional District should the magistrate’s lines become final.

“The new Sixth Congressional District is a fantastic district in Queens where I grew up, went to public school and college, and started my family and my business,” Ackerman said. “It contains my political base and longtime roots, and I have had the privilege of representing approximately 90 percent of it during my 34 years in the State Senate and U.S. Congress.”

Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who represents the 25th Assembly District, has also stated he “looks forward to run for Congress when the lines are finalized.”

World War II vet awarded Bronze Star

| mchan@queenscourier.com

A 91-year-old war veteran was recently awarded with the U.S. Army’s Bronze Star Medal.

Arno Heller, a former sniper in World War II, was honored by Congressmember Bob Turner in a ceremony for the Rego Park native on February 3.

“Mr. Heller is a prime example of a man who puts country before self,” Turner said. “As a private in the army, he rose to the occasion — putting his life on the line to defend his adopted homeland and the principles it stands for.”

Heller was awarded for his achievement in the Rhineland Campaign of 1944.

“It’s very emotional because, after all these years, sometimes I lie awake at night and a lot of memories come back. No bad memories. It’s been a terrific experience,” Heller said. “This means so much — I can hardly describe it… I am speechless.”

The event was held at American Legion Post 1424 in Forest Hills. Among those in attendance were Post Commander Tom Long, Major Charles Jaquillard of the Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn and Commissioner Terrance Holliday of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Private Heller joins an elite class of United States servicemen and women who exceed the call of duty to protect our nation and his or her fellow soldiers. Mr. Heller bravely defended his country and his brethren in arms, and today our nation says thank you,” Turner said.

The Bronze Star is a U.S. Armed Forces individual military decoration and the fourth highest award for bravery, heroism or meritorious service. It is the ninth highest military award, including both combat and non-combat.

Congressmember Turner briefs Broad Channel

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congresmember Turner

Congressmember Bob Turner attended the Broad Channel Civic Association meeting on Thursday, January 26 to update residents on his first five months in office, and to assure them that he is addressing their local concerns.  Turner spoke before a packed room at the Shad Creek VFW in Broad Channel.

“The Broad Channel Civic Association has done an outstanding job highlighting the challenges facing the community and I am committed to working closely with them as their congressmember. All the areas I am honored to represent should know that their unique and local issues will be priorities of my office,” Turner said.

Specifically, he noted the successful effort to include a resident toll discount for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for Broad Channel in the governors’ proposed budget. Turner, who contacted Governor Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota about the unfairness of the toll on Broad Channel residents stated, “I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder and Broad Channnel on this issue, and am pleased that Governor Cuomo has recognized that local residents should not have to pay a toll to conduct basic daily activities.”

In addition, the congressmember mentioned his meeting with representatives of National Grid and emphasized the importance of bringing natural gas to Broad Channel, the only area of New York City still without access to natural gas.

Turner also gave an overview of his first five months in office, including his committee appointments, trips to Afghanistan and Israel, and focus on creating jobs and preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Turner praised the efforts of Broad Channel Civic Association and its president, Dan Mundy Jr., and his father, past president, Dan Mundy, Sr., for their hard work and dedication.

“The Mundys know the issues inside and out and have been enormously helpful to me and my office in addressing important Broad Channel and Rockaway issues.”

Congressmember Bob Turner helps secure military headstone for World War I veteran

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner.

Private First Class William Henry Hogan no longer lies in an unmarked grave.

Thanks to Hogan’s hero — Congressmember Bob Turner, who took the reins in hunting down lost records of the World War I veteran — the family is now at peace.

“It became an emotional thing,” said grandson Michael Hogan of Glendale. “Here is a World War I veteran buried in an unmarked grave with no recognition. That shouldn’t happen to anybody that serves.”

Before his father, William John — also a war vet — died in 1987, Michael inherited the desire to track down and confirm his grandfather’s military history.

“Right before my dad died, we were talking about how there was no marker on my grandfather’s gravesite in New Hampshire. My dad said, ‘We need to fix that.’”

But the military records were lost, and Michael said his attempts to unearth the documents were unsuccessful.

“I thought this would never come to. I pretty much had written it off,” he said.

First, Michael said he contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs National Personnel Records Center (VA). He said they informed him that a fire in 1973 at a St. Louis storage facility destroyed 80 percent of all records and that they could not find anything on his grandfather.

He then contacted the VA Hospital in the Bronx where his grandfather resided upon his passing. The hospital told him that those records would be in storage “somewhere in New Jersey.”

Finally, Michael called Turner, who dug up the records. Turner then contacted the VA to confirm Michael’s grandfather’s service and secured him a military headstone. Michael discovered his grandfather had in fact served in France around 1917.

“When Congressmember Turner personally broke the news to me, I got all choked up. It was a very emotional moment for me,” Michael said. “It was a moment of happiness, joy and tears because I thought this would not come about — especially when I was told by the National Public Records that they couldn’t find anything. I knew my grandfather would finally be getting recognition.”

The icing on the cake, Michael said, was that his and his father’s birthday had just passed.

“Congressmember Turner gave us both a great birthday gift,” Michael said.

Right around the holidays, Turner presented Michael with a folded American flag from the VA — usually given to families of deceased service members at military funerals — and a certificate of honor for his late grandfather.

“William Hogan deserves proper acknowledgement for his service to our country,” Turner said. “Michael’s commitment to his grandfather is a testament to all veterans that their service will never be forgotten.”

The new and officially acquired military headstone was installed at St. Joseph Cemetery in Bedford, New Hampshire at the end of December — granting the long-time wish of three generations of Hogans.

“I didn’t know my grandfather because he died before I was born,” Michael said. “It brought him to life for me. That was the gratification — it brought him closer to me. Right now, my father and grandfather are both probably looking down at me smiling.”

Congressmember Bob Turner holds small business forum for veterans

| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner

Congressmember Bob Turner and other officials recently hosted a Veterans’ Small Business Forum at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The event, which took place on Saturday, December 10, provided information to veterans about creating and expanding small businesses.

“I am honored to have been able to co-host this event,” Turner said. “Events like this will help veterans gain the knowledge and learn what tools and programs are available to help them create and grow their businesses.”

The forum, hosted by 11 New York representatives, featured a panel discussion with business experts from national and local small business development organizations, government agencies and universities. It provided insights for veterans on small-business opportunities, business expansion and management, as well as financing options such as the Surety Bonding and the Patriot Loan Programs.

“Our veterans are some of the most highly-skilled, well-trained individuals in the world. It is in the best interest of our nation and our economy to help them transfer their discipline, adaptability, and drive into the business world,” Turner, a veteran himself, continued.

Putting America’s veterans back to work has been a top priority for Turner, he explained. He recently voted yes on HR 2433: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. The bill includes provisions expanding education and training, improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), facilitating seamless transition, and translating military skills and training for veterans.

“Our returning soldiers have the skills necessary to start and grow a business. It is our job to ensure they are aware of the programs that are available to assist them. These men and women have been the leaders of our military, now they will be the leaders of our economy,” Turner said.

For more information about programs available to help veterans with employment and training you can visit http://www.dol.gov/vets/ and http://va.gov/.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrator crashes Turner’s ceremony

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Congressmember Bob Turner’s official swearing-in was temporarily disrupted when an Occupy Wall Street protestor crashed the ceremony on Sunday, November 13.

According to the New York Post, the demonstrator — identified as Adam Weissman — was forcibly ejected out of the building by Kevin Hiltunen, a former Marine, cop and current volunteer for Turner’s campaign, after he interrupted the ceremony with verbal jabs to Turner’s foreign policy votes.

Outside, Weissman told reporters that he was an Occupy Wall Street organizer, adding that he sprained his right ankle and sustained bruises on his left shoulder from the powerful expulsion, according to reports.

“Bob Turner has sold out Queens and Brooklyn voters by voting for the [South] Korea, Colombia and Panama free-trade agreements which will outsource 219,000 U.S. jobs to sweatshops,” he told NY 1.

Turner was officially installed into office by House Speaker John Boehner in September, after beating Assemblymember David Weprin for the seat.

However, his district ceremonial swear-in this past weekend was held at Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hills in front of family, friends and constituents.

“I have lived in this area my entire life, so it was very important for me to come home and enjoy this moment with the people of the 9th District,” Turner said during his speech.

Besides representing the 9th Congressional District, Turner serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and House Committee on Homeland Security.