Tag Archives: Nily Rozic

Op-ed: Women veterans – a proud piece of our history to be protected


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBERS NILY ROZIC AND ANTHONY BRINDISI 

New York’s women veterans have long been instrumental in our history, and it is important to continually recognize their trailblazing roles in our society. From tending to wounded soldiers in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, to combat support roles in Desert Storm, and to standing shoulder-to-shoulder while under attack in Iraq and Afghanistan, the dedicated service of women veterans has been vital.

Last year, in paying tribute to over 80,000 women veterans from New York State, the Assembly passed a commemorative resolution declaring June 12, 2013, as “Women Veterans Recognition Day.” This resolution recognizes all they have done to keep our country safe and preserve our freedom.

The designation coincided with the 65th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Act of 1948. Today, women make up nearly 15 percent of active duty military and approximately 15.5 percent of the officers across the four military branches.

In addition to their time in service, women deserve recognition when they leave military service – when they are often taken for granted. While the population of female veterans in the U.S. is small, the challenges they face after military service are significant, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder, poverty, domestic violence, homelessness, and the stigma following sexual assault.

The Assembly passed legislation to require local veterans’ service agencies to provide information on programs to assist veterans who experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST). This bill would require the state to devise a plan to provide assistance and benefits for veterans who experience MST while on active duty or during military training. This legislation is important because we need to erase the stigma associated with MST–women veterans should not be afraid to come forward.

Continuing the fight to provide the assistance to help veterans who have experienced sexual assault or abuse, we have introduced legislation that would not just study the rate of homelessness among women veterans but also cases of military sexual trauma experienced. Often MST is a pathway to homelessness for women. This would offer the first comprehensive study in decades on the rise of homelessness among female veterans and the unique challenges that increase their susceptibility to homelessness. The study would also collect the number of homeless women veterans with children and their unemployment rates.

Across the state from Queens to Utica, we have seen an increase in homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence among women veterans. The statistics are alarming and the need for a more comprehensive plan to deal with the issues affecting women veterans is needed.

Our military is evolving, and due to the tremendous bravery and intellect of the women who have served in our armed forces, it is getting stronger. Now more than ever, it is our obligation to make sure we are stepping up and not shortchanging women veterans after all the support they have given us.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents the 25th District; Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi represents the 119th District

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Officials tweak contentious T Building plan


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A controversial plan to turn the historic T Building into housing for mental and chronic health patients has slightly changed, but it is still on the table, The Courier has learned.

In late 2012, Queens Hospital Center (QHC) was in talks with Comunilife, a nonprofit human services agency, to develop the dilapidated 10-story building on its Hillcrest campus into 251 units of affordable housing for people with low-income and chronic health conditions.

Residents would include veterans and people suffering from psychiatric diagnoses or a range of illnesses, from diabetes to AIDS.

The bid was met with fierce opposition from a coalition of civic leaders and elected officials, who said the “questionable population” could put children at nearby schools in danger.

Now a new version of the project is being bandied about, said sources close to the hospital and confirmed by local leaders.

Hospital officials hope to compromise and house fewer patients than originally proposed. The number is still up in the air, but a source said there would still be more than 100 patients.

“The plan keeps changing, but never actually gets formally introduced,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, who learned of the new concept last week. “I don’t know if this idea will gel into a plan more than the last one.”

Several proposals are on the table, said Celia Dosamantes, a spokesperson for Assemblymember David Weprin, though the Comunilife plan is still front and center.

“There is room for discussion, which is good news,” she said.

Last month, Community Board 8 approved a resolution to demolish the T Building after a request from State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymember Nily Rozic.

“This building is in serious disrepair,” Avella said, adding that it costs the hospital $2 million a year to maintain. “Money that is going into that building is taking away from patient care. That building should come down.”

But Queens preservationists are appealing to the city and state to save and landmark the former tuberculosis clinic.

“This hospital is part of a great war against disease, poverty and hardship,” Queens Preservation Council Chair Mitchell Grubler said.

The next step for the site heavily depends on money.

Funds for the multi-million dollar housing unit have not been secured yet, sources said, and it was unclear how much it would cost to dismantle.

“It’s hard to distinguish between a plan and merely an idea that isn’t going anywhere,” Lancman said. “Last time, there was all smoke and noise and nothing ever came of it.”

Queens Hospital Center spokesperson Cleon Edwards said officials are still working to find a resolution that “seeks to balance concerns” of the community with the hospital’s “obligation to provide high quality healthcare services to its patients.”

Comunilife did not respond to a request for comment.

 

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Support grows for farmers’ market to sprout in Fresh Meadows


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A budding plan to grow a farmers’ market in Fresh Meadows is getting the green thumbs up from neighborhood residents. 

Community support is sprouting for a green market to open at Cunningham Park this summer, local leaders said.

“It’s up for a lot more discussion, and we’re really in the tentative, beginning stages,” said Martha Taylor, who chairs Community Board 8’s Parks Committee. “But we’re excited about it at this point.”

Local vendors would sell fresh produce — and possibly baked goods, jams and juices — near the tennis courts, in the corner of the main parking lot on Union Tpke. and 196th Pl.

Officials hope to open the market in late June, after the Big Apple Circus leaves town, and run it for at least one afternoon a week until October.

“People from this community go to other green markets in other parts of Queens,” Assemblymember Nily Rozic said. “I think this is really something the community has been craving.”

The Parks Committee held a meeting Jan. 30 to gauge public interest, since a proposed plan was met with some opposition about eight years ago.

Some residents had feared the market would decrease parking spots, increase traffic, and take away business from a newly opened supermarket nearby, Taylor said.

But reception for the plan has increased over the years, said Taylor and Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association President Jim Gallagher Jr.

“We were pleasantly surprised at all the people who were there in favor of it, including some who had been opposed to it the first time,” Taylor said.

The Parks Committee plans to interview market vendors next month, while the full board is slated to vote on the proposal in late spring.

Residents looking to weigh in can call Rozic’s office at 718-820-0241.

“I think we’re going to have a process that is very neighborhood-driven, and one that has everyone’s input,” Rozic said. “Fresh Meadows foodies are in for a treat.”

 

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Local leaders applaud city’s call to save Gifted & Talented seats


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Local leaders are hailing the city’s decision to allow all District 26 elementary school students enrolled in Gifted & Talented (G&T) programs to be grandfathered into middle school programs.

“There is no more important issue in our community than the education of our students,” said Assemblymember Nily Rozic. “The new policy reflects the children and parents in District 26 and will allow families to focus on getting their children off to a strong start in middle school.”

Parents were outraged when they learned students would no longer be automatically accepted into their local middle school G&T programs.

Fifth grade students would have to submit applications and seek admission to middle school G&T programs based on their fourth grade New York State ELA and math scores, the Department of Education (DOE) previously said.

More than 750 people signed an online petition, protesting the abrupt change.

“The Gifted and Talented programs in our schools are vitally important to the education of our students,” said Congressmember Grace Meng. “After listening closely to the needs of parents, the community, and elected officials, I applaud the Department of Education for its decision to add more G&T seats in District 26 as well as allow current students through fifth grade to remain in the program.”

According to Councilmember Mark Weprin, the DOE will also create more middle school G&T programs for high-performing general education students.

“With the opening of additional classes for incoming students who qualify for the program, the agreement is good news for parents across the district,” he said.

 

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Op-ed: Support programs that boost our economy


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

One by one, each student marched his way up to the front of the room to receive certificates of completion, each with a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness. One by one, each member of the cohort recounting stories of the past couple of weeks that gave them a second chance.

It was the workforce development initiative of the Queens Botanical Garden and LaGuardia Community College that made these second chances possible.

Unlike some traditional programs that lack strong ties to industry, workforce development programs often accelerate job creation because workers acquire precisely the kind of skills businesses need to expand. Today, examples like those of the Green Jobs Training Program include sustainable landscape design and maintenance, waste management, and other similar green practices.

More recently, the Robin Hood Foundation provided funding to create a workforce development program run by AAFE and One Flushing to recruit and assist those ready to enter the workforce. It is a welcome partnership that will enhance the growth and success of our local Flushing community.

Beyond that New York needs to implement creative ways to retain the talent we have. This year, I sponsored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo making New York a national leader in workforce development and job training. I have also introduced legislation supported by Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer that would continue our economic growth and create quality jobs by investing in our engineering workforce. The financial aid program for engineering students who commit to staying in the city for five years after graduation is a smart investment to bolster an innovation economy and prepare our workforce for the 21st century.

This year’s budget also focused on workforce development and new industries in every community. Cuomo pushed for programs including innovative “Hot Spot” incubators, the Venture Capital Fund, and job linkage initiatives that push our state’s ideas, create new businesses, and train our workforce for jobs of tomorrow.

Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the entire country and it needs a government that can embrace and harness that to power its economic engine. We need to keep creating ways to support programs that boost our economy. The task for our next administration will be to help more of the city’s workforce develop the skills to obtain jobs—and more importantly careers—in sectors that are growing and expanding.

That is what I am determined to champion to do in next year’s legislative session—to be a champion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, provide resources to assist local businesses flourish, and forge better partnerships between private and public entities. There has never been a better time to support these pathways and programs that ultimately help our most critical economic resource–our workforce.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents New York’s 25th District, which spans the northeast portion of Queens, including the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, and Douglaston.

 

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U.S. Senate gun control vote disappoints New York lawmakers


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

The build-up lasted a full four months.

From the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School to the State of the Union and rallies afterward, tougher laws on gun control were debated and pored over until U.S. Senators finally voted 54-46 in favor of an amendment to strengthen background checks at gun shows and online.

However, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 needed 60 “aye” votes to pass.

In New York, many state officials were deeply disappointed when the news came out of Washington on Wednesday, April 17.

“I was embarrassed,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “Our New York delegation did terrific work, but I was embarrassed by the U.S. Senate. They couldn’t even do the simplest reform which itself was a far cry from what we really needed.”

City Councilmember Donovan Richards echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a crying shame. I would urge these individuals who voted down the bill to come visit the parents of the countless lives that were lost. Blood is on their hands.”

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted in favor of the amendment.

Gianaris was one of the first state senators to push for tougher gun laws last year when he put forth legislation expanding background checks and banning assault rifles.

Background checks were eventually incorporated into the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013.

In January, the New York State Legislature passed the SAFE Act, which includes some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The bill initially limited magazine capacity to seven bullets, banned assault rifles and tightened background checks. Critics viewed it as a radical, knee-jerk reaction by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Sandy Hook shooting while legislators were chastised for the rush to pass the bill.

Cuomo later backtracked on the magazine limit as a compromise to reach this year’s budget on time.

Federal background checks under the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 would have been lighter than checks outlined in New York’s SAFE Act.

The New York bill allows mental health professionals to alert the state if a patient has the potential to be violent. If the threat is deemed viable, the state can revoke the patient’s gun license.

While New York is traditionally viewed as a liberal state, Gianaris said the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) lobby here is as prominent as in Washington. However, he said New Yorkers generally supported the SAFE Act despite the NRA presence.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic, a co-sponsor of the SAFE Act, traveled to the nation’s capital last month as part of the Assembly’s Black, Latino and Asian caucus to lobby for the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act.

She and Assembly colleagues from across the state pushed for a wide package of gun control bills, which she described as the first step in better nationwide gun laws.

Rozic said she was disappointed the Senate could not get the amendment to pass, but is hopeful looking forward.

“We had some great conversations,” she said. “I’d be happy to go back to D.C. and continue the fight.”

Richards, a proponent of gun buyback programs, said the goal is to take away criminals’ opportunities to get their hands on weapons.

“If we’re not doing what we can to ensure that these individuals don’t have gun access,” he said, “we’re doing a disservice to our children, to our community.”

All New York legislators, however, have not been in favor of the SAFE Act and gun legislation.

State Senator Greg Ball, who represents parts of Duchess and Putnam Counties, has actively opposed the bill, citing the loss of rights to people who legally purchased assault rifles.

Addressing the senate debate on the bill in January, Ball said making assault rifles illegal did not compensate for the help mentally ill people in the state really need. To make his point, he described a constituent with a bipolar, schizophrenic son who Ball said did not get proper state care.

“She fears for her life and the lives of her neighbors every day,” he told his fellow Senators. “And the mental health system in the state of New York has failed her repeatedly. It’s a kangaroo system where that child will be treated like a number, and a ticking time bomb to go off. And that single mom doesn’t have the support of the state, or that system, to care for that child.”

Instead, the Republican alleged the SAFE Act was a ploy to help Cuomo one day become president, and that it and would make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding gun owners.

Ball was not available for comment by press time.

In Richards’ southeast Queens district, gun safety is of utmost concern. He mentioned several individuals among his constituency who lost their lives due to gun violence, including his friend Darnell Patterson. Patterson was murdered in South Jamaica.

“The list goes on and on,” he said. “As government officials, we’re supposed to [...] do as much as we can to protect everyday citizens.”

-BY TERENCE M. CULLEN & MAGGIE HAYES

 

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Bayside rallies to save after-school program


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A community rallied in Bayside to save a beloved Beacon program from another year of budget cuts.

“This feels like déjà vu. Year in and year out, we have more and more budget cuts,” said Assemblymember Nily Rozic. “We cannot balance budgets on the backs of our students.”

The after-school enrichment program at M.S. 158 Marie Curie is slated for closure at the end of the school year. It was saved from the chopping block by the City Council last year after the Department of Youth and Community Development tried to shut down seven Beacons across the city.

“These types of cuts go on year after year. It’s a continual battle with the city to restore the funding,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We have a fight on our hands, but the community stands behind this Beacon center.”

Beacon has been a “support system” for 20 years and the only program within Community Board 11, said Martenia Miller, site director of the school’s Beacon program.

More than 100 students take part in the enrichment program daily. Nearly 70 of them are on the school’s honor roll, Miller said.

Community Board 11 chair Jerry Iannece said the city mistakes the program as a luxury.

“This is a necessity,” he said. “Although we live in an affluent area with nice homes, lots of the kids who go to the Beacon program are kids who need it. We all have to rally our forces, circle our wagons and do everything we can to keep this program here.”

Beacon operates after school, on weekends, school holidays and throughout the summer. It focuses on leadership and skill growth, serving youth and adults.

There are 80 Beacon programs citywide.

Miller said the program at M.S. 158 boasts a talented chamber orchestra, a dance team, literacy classes and gym.

“Beacon helps kids get a place to stay, helps unemployment, helps kids socialize and become more active,” said Anna Poubouridis, 13. “In my opinion, those are some very important things.”

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 82. South wind 6 to 11 mph. Friday night: Scattered showers, mainly after 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. South wind 7 to 9 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

Event of the Day: A Tribute to Lena Horne and Nina Simone

Seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Winner, Natalie Douglas in a tribute to singing legends Lena Horne and Nina Simone at York College Performing Arts Center. To reserve free tickets please call (212) 575 7660 or email CPAS@hainyc.org. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens Primary Election Coverage

Sanders defeats indicted incumbent Huntley in State Senate primary

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes

Messer refuses to give up fight

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race

Ulrich wins primary, set to face Addabbo in November

Incumbent Miller defeats newcomer in 38th District

Drifter nabbed in rape of 73-year-old woman in Central Park has disturbing criminal history

A deviant drifter with a terrifying rap sheet that includes two sex attacks on elderly women was charged Thursday with the rape of a 73-year-old bird watcher in Central Park. Three rookie cops caught Appalachian ex-con David Albert Mitchell, 42, strolling down an upper West Side street, and the victim later picked him out of a lineup. Read more: Daily News

Investigators look into whether mole helped Libyan terrorists

Investigators are probing whether a mole helped Libyan terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate — where no Marines were on guard. The raiders met with such little resistance that, after seizing control of the one-story villa in a mere 15 minutes, they unleashed a second assault on a nearby safe house, officials in the U.S. and Libya said Thursday. Read more: Daily News

Man who ran on field during Santana’s no-hitter fined $5K, gets 100 hours of community service

A die-hard New York Mets fan who ran onto Citi Field during Johan Santana’s no hitter celebration pleaded guilty to day and will have to pay up for his overzealous behavior.Rafael Diaz, 32, was ordered by a Queens judge to hand over $4,000 in civil penalties to the Mets, $1,000 to the city, perform 100 hours of community service and must not visit Citi Field for one year. Read more: NY Post

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.

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 38


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 38

Name: Etienne David Adorno

Party: Democratic

Current Position: Community member/Legistative and Budget liason for Councilmember Robert Jackson

Personal: Etienne David Adorno, 27, has spent most of his life living in Woodhaven. He has become active in his community by becoming a resident member of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and serves on the Consumer Affairs and Public Safety Committees of Community Board 9. Adorno is currently on leave from his position in Robert Jackson’s office while he seeks office.

Issues/Platform: Adorno has campaigned for public safety in his area, along with living expenses and protecting small businesses. He has said that, if elected, he would work to cap property taxes and ensure after-school programs.

 

Name: Mike Miller

Party: Democratic

Current Position: Incumbent Assemblymember for the 38th District

Personal info: Assemblymember Mike Miller was elected in 2009, has lived in Glendale for 40 years. He is a graduate of Queens College CUNY and the University of Georgia CUNA Management School. He is the son of an Italian immigrant mother and a German immigrant father. Miller served the community in several different capacities throughout his life, and was a board member of Community Board 5.

Issues/Platform: Miller has fought, and says he will continue to fight, graffiti, noise and pollution throughout his district. He has sponsored a number of legislations to protect children from sexual predators, keep safe victims of domestic violence and keep the sanctity of the school system. Miller prides himself as a “24/7” assemblymember – elaborating that his constituents have a right to help, even after office hours.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 40


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 40 

Name: Ethel Chen

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Community activist

Personal Info: Ethel Chen has over 30 years of public service experience. She is on the advisory committee to the Queens District Attorney, president of Friends of Flushing Library, and a member of the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission. Chen was elected Democratic District Leader, appointed Democratic District Leader-at-Large, serving all of Queens for 10 years. She was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention and served on a community board for 10 years. Chen was also a supervising librarian for the New York Public Library, and she graduated from National Taiwan University Law School. Chen also earned a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, completed graduate studies at Columbia University and has raised three sons.

Issues/Platform: Chen will bring ethical and responsible leadership to Albany, fight for small businesses, protect seniors, improve safety in the community, push for better and more available transportation and protect healthcare for everyone. She also wants to make sure storefront signs in downtown Flushing have bilingual signage to ensure safety.

 

Name: Yen Chou

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Community activist

Personal Info: In 2003 and again in 2010, Yen Chou served with then-Councilmember and current Assemblymember David Weprin as his special liaison to the community. As a public servant, she has been recognized by government leaders as the voice of the Asian community in Queens. Chou has received numerous citations and proclamations from the New York City Council, New York State Senate and United States Congress, as well as many plaques of recognition from community leaders, non-profit organizations and ethnic-based associations. It is because of these accolades that the district leaders of the Democratic Organization of Queen County selected her to become the District Leader at Large. Chou is a former high school teacher and an adjunct lecturer at Queensborough Community College. She implemented and became the director for Aim Academy in 1996. In 1999, with the support of close friends and community leaders, Chou became a local community school board member. Years later when the Department of Education re-structured and removed the community school board, Chou was appointed by Borough President Helen Marshal to sit on the Community Education Council. In 2002, Chou formed the Chinese American Parent-Student Council (CAPSC).

Issues/Platform: Chou will fight to ensure adequate funding for better roads and highways, work to expand the Health Care Act, find community-based solutions to health care needs, help businesses pool their funds and provide them with tax incentives to do so, fight to keep educators’ salaries above the national average, expand options for tax credits to businesses and work to expand the interstate system to ease the flow of transportation throughout the region, and eliminate wasteful spending on useless projects that serve the interests of lobbyists and self-serving politicians.

 

Name: Martha Flores-Vasquez

Party: Democrat

Personal info: Martha Flores-Vasquez has a lifelong history of serving her community and standing up to defend her community. Flores-Vasquez has served as a Democratic District Leader in Queens after winning several contested elections in her district that covers the greater Flushing community. Flores-Vazquez served as chair of the Graduate Student Council at the City University of New York and while there, she instituted and oversaw quality assurance for the Student Services Corp., a committee designed to make certain that students were fairly represented in all phases at University meetings relative to policies that affected a multicultural population at large. She also was responsible for the oversight of the audit, reconciliation and appropriations process of the yearly budget, conducted on a monthly basis. She created the Auxiliary Corporation of New York, and as vice chair of the corporation, she focused on a design that would provide opportunities to minorities in business. Flores-Vasquez has always been a civil rights leader fighting to keep several CUNY departments such as Asian Studies, Latin Studies and Black Studies open for the diverse population in New York City. Flores-Vasquez led the fight to keep tuition costs down at CUNY. Flores-Vasquez is the founder and executive director of Community Prevention for Families in Crisis.  She is the recipient of many civil service and humanitarian awards such as the Butanes National Puerto Rican Parade Day Award for Economic Empowerment, as well as other notable citations and proclamations.

Issues/Platform: Flores-Vasquez is concerned with creating a safer and cleaner community and supports ensuring police manpower levels at the local level. She is an advocate for education and wants to improve our education system by ensuring proper funding and parent involvement in children’s education.  Flores-Vasquez believes in increasing economic development by providing incentives for companies to come back to New York and supports the continual funding and support of programs that service the aged population. She is a staunch opponent of fracking.

 

Name: Ron Kim

Party: Democrat

Personal info: Beginning his career in public service as an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin, Ron Kim moved on to work in the Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services. At the City Council, Ron worked as a policy analyst, writing and examining legislation on issues related to transportation, infrastructure and economic development. As a regional director for government and community affairs in the administrations of two New York State governors, he collaborated and worked with a varied group of state agencies, elected officials and community organizations.

Issues/Platform: Kim wants to create good, local jobs for Queens while expanding economic opportunities for the entire community, pass the New York State DREAM Act, raise New York’s minimum wage, protect seniors, improve schools, enable small businesses to grow and thrive and reform Albany. Kim will fight to protect middle class taxpayers, get New York City schools the funding they deserve and create jobs by giving small businesses incentives for hiring new workers. Kim knows that public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring opportunity exists for all citizens.

 

Name: Myungsuk Lee

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Owner and publisher of Korean American Times newspaper

Personal Info: Myungsuk Lee is the CEO of the Korean American Times and board member of Community Board 7. While at Korea TV and Radio, Lee had eight years of extensive experience as both reporter and associate director, before assuming the position of executive director. After obtaining his bachelor degree at SUNY Binghamton, Lee furthered his education at Hankook University of Foreign Studies, where he went on to establish the university’s first Executive MBA Program for Korean CEOs in New York. As an active member in the Flushing community, Lee is involved in various facets of public service, even serving as president of the Korean American Association of Queens and counselor and founder of SCORE in Flushing.

Issues/Platform: Lee is dedicated to serving the public as a community leader by providing support and protection to seniors, small businesses, the immigrant and all ethnic communities. He believes small business is the backbone of the local economy and in reducing small business taxes and regulations while increasing small business loans and incentives. He wants to enact local economic development plans to create jobs and revitalize small businesses and strengthen senior centers by providing job training, enhancing meals-on-wheels, transportation and wellness opportunities. In regards to education, Lee supports more open curriculum, which encourages teacher flexibility and creativity. He supports parent associations and wants to enact programs where students can learn more and support their communities. Lee also wants to enact policies to respect and protect immigrants, create more job training and business management programs for them and increase budgets and expand policies for immigrant communities. He also wants to increase better understanding among ethnic communities through multicultural events and sports activities and enhance policies for better community relationships.

 

 

Name: Philip Gim

Party: Republican

Current Position: Small business consultant

Personal info: Born to a working class family, Phil Gim is a hard-working father of four, a small business owner, a proud former member of our nation’s civil service system and a resident of Queens for over 25 years. He is a former postal worker, and was a supervisor in the 2000 and 2010 Census.  He is proud that his three daughters all attend or attended New York City public schools. He’s running for the State Assembly because he wants to represent the middle-class — the hard-working families, the retirees on fixed incomes, all the people who have been forgotten during this economic crisis.

Issues/Platform: Jobs, jobs, jobs. There is no issue more important and of greater concern than our high unemployment rate and the appalling number of underemployed New Yorkers in our state. Our local economy is in dire straits and local politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they’ve forgotten why we elected them in the first place. We need to make New York a friendlier business environment so our jobs don’t move across the river, across the sound, or across an ocean. We need to stop the attacks on Wall Street firms and instead start helping Main Street businesses. We need to provide the same type of incentives for small businesses to hire that we do for larger corporations. We need more jobs in New York.
His platform:
1.  Make New York friendly to small businesses again: We need to encourage more mom and pop shops and neighborhood stores. Instead of huge tax breaks for corporations and sports teams, let’s channel our efforts towards small business loans and business development grants. Let’s make them simple to apply for, and let’s make is easier to start and run a small business in New York. We can start by cutting through excessive red tape and simplifying regulations.
2.  A common sense rule in New York State: Sometimes our lawmakers get so bogged down with agendas and the technicalities of making laws that they lose sight of what they were working for. Every bill that goes before the legislature needs to be cut down to a realistic size that legislators can actually review before they vote on it. And let’s make them actually review the contents of a bill before they vote on it!
3.  Legislators should live in glass houses: We need to declare positions in the State Assembly and the State Senate as full-time jobs and then declare that legislators are only allowed to have that one job. No more outside “consulting.” No more family members working as lobbyists. No family members should be allowed to work for businesses or non-profits that receive State funding because of a relative. And let’s enforce it.

 

 

Name: Sunny Hahn

Party: Republican

Current Position: Community activist

Personal Info: Sunny Hahn came to the United States in 1979. She worked at an immigration brokering office in Washington, D.C. and later for National Women’s Political Caucus. After moving to Honolulu, she worked organizing the Korean immigrant community and helped Korean women who were married to American military personnel. In 1986, she came to New York and worked for the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Queens office in Flushing as the only Asian community organizer. After retiring in 2002, she served the Korean community and the greater Flushing community. All her life, she has been an activist and a public servant.

Issues/Platform: Hahn wants to make Flushing one of the greatest cities in the world, the next “Shining City on the Hill” and the greatest destination for tourists as well as residents of New York City.
Her platform:
1. To organize and modernize a Flushing public transportation hub
2. To build a religious freedom monument in downtown Flushing
3. To restore RKO Keith Theater as a theater, to hold annual Asian film festival and other musical/theatrical programs like European and Peking opera, Kabuki theater, classic and pop concerts
4. To establish an entertainment/recreational district in downtown Flushing and Willets Point, which will include a casino establishment
5. To protect historic neighborhoods in Flushing by designating a historic district and a design district

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

 Assembly District 38

 

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 33


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 33

 

Name: Barbara Clark

Party: Democrat

Current position: Assemblymember for the 33rd District

Personal info: Clark, a coal miner’s daughter, was born and raised in Beckley, West Virginia. She and her husband, Thomas, have four adult children, who were all educated in the New York City public school system, and two granddaughters.

Issues/Platform: Clark has represented the communities of the 33rd Assembly District in the New York State Legislature for 13 terms, using her office to champion equity in funding and access to quality educational programs for all students in New York State. Clark is committed to partnering with her constituents to create programs and institutions which foster stable community development, both within her district and throughout New York State. She was also instrumental in funding the first cancer center in Queens County at Queens General Hospital. She is a current member and the former vice chair of the Education Commission of the States — the highest rank that can be held by a state legislator. She authored and passed the Child Advocate Bill, which helps protect the rights of children in New York State. She also secured $8.5 million in LIRR capital funding for an elevator at Queens Village subway station and secured approval and funding for courses at Queensboro Community College for under-credited students and unemployed workers seeking transitional skills.

 

Name: Clyde Vanel

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney/business owner/community advocate

Personal info: Vanel was raised in Cambria Heights in a two-parent household with nine siblings. His well-disciplined, working-class parents instilled in their children strong moral values and the idea that, with education and hard work, anything is possible.

Issues/Platform: Vanel believes supporting senior and youth programs, health care and education are major issues. Vanel also believes that job creation is the major issue that we are facing. Vanel will focus on bringing and keeping more jobs in New York. As a business owner and job creator, Vanel understands that New York makes it difficult to start and maintain a business to employ people in New York.

 

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Assembly District 25


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 25

 

Name: Jerry Iannece

Party: Democrat

Current position: Attorney and chair of Community Board 11

Personal info: Jerry Iannece was born in 1959, the youngest of three children whose parents lived in the Hells Kitchen section of New York City. His parents were immigrants from Italy. The family moved to Astoria, where Iannece attended a local grammar school and high school.  He graduated from New York University and St. John’s University School of Law. Iannece is married to Lynn Cavalcca and they have two children.

Issues/Platform:
1. Increase the minimum wage: Raising the minimum wage is a sensible measure that will help grow our economy and ensure that men and women working in our state will be able to provide for their families.
2. Dream Act/Fund: I am a first generation American who grew up in a house where my parents did not speak English. By sacrificing and working hard, my parents pushed me through college and law school and, ultimately, drove me to be the successful local attorney and active civic leader that I am today. Living here in Queens, the most diverse county in the world, we have all seen how immigration and different cultures have fueled our economy and brought dynamism into our communities. The Dream Act will make our workforce more competitive, our military stronger, and strengthen our state.
3. Campaign finance reform: We stand at a crisis of confidence in government. Existing election laws encourage a pay-to-play mentality, excessive influence to wealthy lobbyists and a climate of corruption and distrust. Legislation must be passed to reform the state’s antiquated campaign finance laws and create a public financing system to shift elections away from fundraising and towards community issues. In this effort, I support two measures for New York State Elections: instituting the program of five to one matching funds and lowering the campaign contribution cap, particularly for business contributions.

 

Name: Nily Rozic

Party: Democrat, Working Families

Current position: Former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Personal info: Democrat Nily Rozic was born in Jerusalem and moved with her family to Fresh Meadows. She is a passionate and energetic leader committed to building a strong future for eastern Queens. As a chief of staff to an assemblymember, Rozic worked tirelessly to make a real difference in the lives of everyday New Yorkers. Rozic continues to be active in our community, serving on Community Board 8 as a member of the transportation, land use and education committees, as an active member of Hillcrest Jewish Center and a member of the Townsend Harris HS Alumni Association.

Issues/Platform:
1. Developing educational opportunities: Rozic knows how important a great education is for our kids. She will work to reduce overcrowding in our schools, increase parental involvement and expand afterschool programs.
2. Improving services for seniors: Rozic will work to expand access to housing for seniors and fight perennial threats to close senior centers and cut meal programs. She will also find ways to preserve prescription drug programs like EPIC.
3. Expanding better public transportation: Rozic will continue to work on expanding transit service, keeping fares affordable and making the MTA accountable. She will work to secure essential funding for our community’s roads and bridges.
4. Protecting our health: Rozic will work to improve detection and prevention of breast, prostate and lung cancer in eastern Queens.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Senate District 16

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 16


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 16

 

Name: John A. Messer

Party: Democrat

Current Position: Businessman and local attorney

Personal Info: Messer is the managing member of Manoussos & Messer, PLLC and a small business owner in the security and renewable energy fields. He has also served at Fort Totten in Queens as a Judge Advocate General and Captain in the Army. Messer was a government scholar who has worked with the mayor’s office of the city of New York in economic development and corporate retention. He has a master’s degree in government and politics from St. John’ University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He is also a real estate licensing instructor and a guest lecturer for the City University of New York. He and his wife, Wendy, have three children, Ryan, Alex and Jackie, and live in Oakland Gardens.

Issues/Platform: As a former Army Captain, Messer hopes to pass legislation supporting veterans who have served overseas and their families. Through his experience in economic development, he supports economic development strategies which support our small businesses and attract long-term growth where our state is best able to complete. He supports education initiatives that will reduce crowding in our schools and gives teachers the flexibility to teach, and senior services that support those on fixed-incomes so that they can remain healthy and independent. Messer also stands behind legislation that would restore trust and accountability to our state government. He states that non-profits which receive state funding should be thoroughly vetted and that we need to close the loopholes which allow legislators to funnel funds to organizations and family members in which they have an interest. He wants to increase traffic safety regulations to make our community safer and will work to streamline government operations to eliminate overlapping functions which waste our money.

 

Name: Toby Ann Stavisky

Party: Democrat

Current Position: New York State Senator

Personal Info: As the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate and the first woman to chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Toby Ann Stavisky has been committed to increasing minimum wage and supporting education throughout her career. Stavisky was elected to the Senate on November 2, 1999, and has subsequently been re-elected seven times.
She resides in Whitestone and has one son, Evan, who is married. She is a native New Yorker who was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Issues/Platform: Stavisky is committed to increasing the minimum wage, passing the New York State Dream Act, and working every day to retain and create good jobs for Queens. As a former teacher in the New York City schools, Stavisky knows that good schools are the key to a better future for all our kids.
As a public official driven by principle, Stavisky knows it’s time that we make Albany accountable to the people. That’s why she’s fighting in the legislature to increase the level of transparency in government and start making Albany work for New Yorkers again. Stavisky has been called “a model for independent leadership in the New York State Senate” and she will continue to build upon her reputation as one of the most honest and upfront public officials in New York.

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 15

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40

 

Primary guide: Meet the candidates in Senate District 15


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ELECTION

As the clock ticks closer to state primaries on Thursday, September 13, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running in your district. We have provided a list of candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

 

SENATE DISTRICT 15

 

Name: Juan Reyes

Party: Republican

Current Position: Lawyer

Personal Info: Juan Reyes is a Queens native who has campaigned himself as “the Irish-Italian guy with the Spanish name.” Reyes is a graduate of Quinnipiac Law School. After graduation, he went to work for former senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole. Reyes worked in various positions in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s second administration. He lives in Forest Hills with his wife and their seven-year-old and twin five-year-old daughters.

Issues/Platform: Reyes’ platform ranges from the economy to social and educational issues. He has campaigned that, if elected, he will push for a tax policy that will allow growth in the state. The Forest Hills resident is also against increasing minimun wage, claiming on his campaign website that it would cut more than 43,000 jobs. Reyes has also pushed for diversifying New York’s economy. Reyes also supports the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, saying that it saves lives and keeps the city safe. Additionally, he has supported literacy in children, and a standard of English in the school system.

 

Name: Eric Ulrich

Party: Republican/Independent

Current Position: Councilmember for the 32nd District

Personal Info: Eric Ulrich was first elected in the February 2009 special election and subsequently re-elected in the November general election later that year. At 27, he is currently the youngest serving member of the council and serves as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Ulrich was born and raised in Ozone Park where he still lives today. He attended neighborhood public and parochial schools, P.S. 63 Old South and Nativity BVM, respectively. After graduating from Cathedral Prep Seminary, Ulrich attended St. Francis College on a full scholarship, where he met his wife, Yadira. They were married in 2009 and are expecting their first child on October 29.

Issues/Platform: Ulrich’s main concerns include bettering the economy and job creation for New Yorkers. Good-paying jobs are crucial to Ulrich. Life-long Queens residents can no longer afford to live in New York and have moved away. Ulrich has supported the middle class residents, and says, if elected, he will continue to work for their rights. In City Council, Ulrich notes he’s worked to increase the quality of life in his district, targeting vandalism and graffiti in neighborhoods. Ulrich promises to do the same for the area, according to his campaign, at the state level if he is elected. Ulrich’s campaign also touts that he would work to restore “fiscal sanity” to state government and ease burdens on tax payers. Ulrich says he will work to reduce property taxes on homeowners, and some of the taxes on small businesses.

 

Name: Joseph Tiraco

Party: Independent

Current Position: Web Designer

Personal Info: Joseph Tiraco’s lineage in Forest Hills goes back 100 years. He served as a NATO advisor with the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964 — stationed in France and Germany with the Army Airborne. Following an accident, he received training in computers. Tiraco says he worked in computers for more than 40 years now, witnessing new innovations and the rise of Microsoft. Born in Brooklyn before his family relocated to Forest Hills, he has inherited his family home, which he has lived in for 52 years.

Issues/Platorm: Tiraco touts that he has one main issue: direct Democracy. He elaborates by saying that politicians should be the go-between for government and citizens. On campaign material, Tiraco also supports the “Occupy” movement, saying that it is “exactly right, CHANGE is the physic, the cure-all, the overriding issue that tops all others.”

 

Meet more candidates:

Senate District 10

Senate District 16

Assembly District 25

Assembly District 33

Assembly District 38

Assembly District 40