Tag Archives: Queens County Democratic Committee

Avella announces borough president run

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Avella

A northeast Queens legislator has joined the large circle of Democrats vying for next year’s borough presidency.

State Senator Tony Avella, 61, announced he will run to replace outgoing Borough President Helen Marshall.

“I think Queens needs a voice, and I don’t think we’ve had that,” said Avella, who won re-election to his Senate seat earlier this month. “The office of the borough president could be much more involved in handling the borough-wide issues. I just think we could do a much better job.”

The former two-term city councilmember said he is “continually frustrated” at unhandled problems in Queens, including tree maintenance, curb replacement and school issues.

Superstorm Sandy, Avella said, could have also been less devastating if the borough leader fought for resources that instead went to other parts of the city.

“It runs the gamut,” he said. “What really made the decision for me was the lack of preparation and response to Queens after the hurricane. I thought the office of the borough president could have been much more visible and much more active.”

Other big name Democratic candidates who have announced their intent to vie for the seat include Councilmember Leroy Comrie, State Senator José Peralta and former legislator Melinda Katz.

Councilmember Peter Vallone and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik are also rumored to be eyeing the position.

“I think I have widespread name recognition throughout the borough,” Avella said. “I think I take a much more hands-on approach, which I think is really necessary.”

Avella said he would seek an endorsement from the Queens County Democratic Committee but would run regardless of the party’s support.

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.”