By Terrence M. Cullen
Thursday, October 18, 2012
With only 19 days until the general election and just hours before back-to-back debates, Senator Charles Schumer endorsed State Senator Joseph Addabbo for his third term in Albany as he faces what’s been referred to as the most contested race in Queens.
“The same sweet smile that his father had, he has,” Schumer said at the endorsement, on Thursday, October 18 in front of the Queens Community Center in Forest Hills. “Because he really does care — it just comes from the heart.”
Schumer drew upon Addabbo’s record of working for his district on topics ranging from tough laws on criminals, gun control and education.
“Public safety has always been a hallmark of what Joe believes in,” Schumer said. “Joe has pushed hard for the schools in this district, and he, almost single-handedly, was able to push to get another $292 million to go to our city schools. So he’s in touch with the people here.”
New parts of Forest Hills will be incorporated into the reshaped District 15. Schumer was joined by some of Addabbo’s colleagues, including Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who will lose parts of Forest Hills in her District 16 if she’s re-elected in her own race. Stavisky said her colleague would do an even better job than she at representing this neighborhood.
“Joe Addabbo understands, he gets it,” he said. “I gave up good chunks of my district to Joe Addabbo, and I am confident that he will do an even better job than I did.”
Others, however, spoke on opponent Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s campaign and alleged his platform was unproductive regarding safety and the middle class.
“He doesn’t think our gun laws need changing,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “On all these issues, he stands against the community while Joe stands with it.”
Ulrich has been trying to make ground in Forest Hills, which has a strong Bukharan Jewish presence. Ulrich began campaigning in the neighborhood over the summer as he ran in a rare Republican primary against Forest Hills resident Juan Reyes.
Addabbo said he’s been proud to put people first and wanted to keep the campaign and voters positive in the next two weeks.
“It’s about a focus of the people,” he said. “We made sure this campaign stayed positive. The focus of my campaign has always been about people. The focus of my campaign, and the focus for my professional life, has always put people first; people before politics. It’s something that I was taught many years ago and it’s something that I follow through today.”
This was the second major endorsement for Addabbo in less than two weeks. Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed him at the outset of the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan, which resulted in a major reaction from the media — citing a turn from what some alleged was the governor’s friendliness with the Republican-led Senate.