Queens Chronicle: “ENDORSEMENT: Vote Addabbo in the 15th Senate District”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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South Queens is well-served by two lawmakers who will be going head to head on Election Day: Democratic state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich. Like many in the community, we want them both to remain in office.

There’s only one way to do that: Vote for Addabbo.

If the senator wins, Ulrich does not lose his council seat, because he’s not up for re-election until next year.

Which means that if Addabbo wins, the citizens win.

Maintaining the status quo is not the only reason to re-elect the senator, however.

Both candidates say job creation is a top priority. But it’s Addabbo who’s held half a dozen job fairs for the community since being elected, drawing hundreds of companies to Atlas Park, Aqueduct and Resorts World to meet with thousands of people seeking employment. That’s solid constituent service.

As a state senator, Addabbo also had a hand in getting Resorts World built in the first place. Now the casino at Aqueduct employs about 1,700 people — 60 percent, or about 1,000 of them — from Queens. Ulrich has been criticizing Resorts World for falling short of its pledge to take 70 percent of its employees from the borough, but it agreed to do that when it was expecting to have only 900 people on the payroll. Sixty percent of 1,700 is a lot more than 70 percent of 900.
Resorts World has also contributed about $658 million in much-needed education funding to the state, and another $500,000 to 37 community organizations. It’s been a boon to South Queens and all of New York, and Addabbo deserves some of the credit for that.

That may be part of the reason Addabbo was recently endorsed by Gov. Cuomo,who’s very selective about his endorsements, even for fellow Democrats. In announcing his support, the governor called Addabbo “a man of courage” who has cast “tough votes.” The senator from the 15th District has backed the governor on a number of issues including the state budget and ethics reform. He’s also been a strong supporter of education funding.

Ulrich, as we said, has been a fine councilman. He’s only 27 and potentially has several decades of public service ahead of him. He’s been successful in areas such as cleaning up graffiti, living up to his promises.

But we don’t agree with Ulrich on every issue. He would, for example, cut state business taxes by 20 percent, but the benefit of that is questionable, and he hasn’t offered a way to replace the lost revenue, when Albany really needs it. He’s also more inclined to support hydrofracking, the dangerous natural gas extraction method, than Addabbo, who utterly opposes it because of its potential to harm the city’s water supply. And Addabbo is a stronger supporter of gun control.

Backers of both candidates, many from outside the district, have been flooding residents’ mailboxes with fliers, most of them attacking the other guy. State Republicans, for example, have been beating up Addabbo for backing temporary city tax increases after Sept. 11, 2001. No one likes tax hikes, but they were necessary and were later repealed. Ironically, the GOP is partially paying for these mailers with funds donated by Mayor Bloomberg — who proposed those very tax hikes.

We’ve got two fine officials in this race. Keep both in office —by voting Addabbo for Senate on Nov. 6.


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