The district includes Bellerose, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Glen Oaks, Oakland Gardens and portions of Little Neck, Bayside, Douglaston, Queens Village, Hollis, Jamaica Estates and Fresh Meadows.
District 23 Council candidate Barry Grodenchik has been here before.
The Pomonok native and former Assemblyman ran his first campaign for City Council in 2001, when he lost a close race to future Councilman Jim Gennaro. The next year, Grodenchik ran for a newly-formed Assembly seat in Downtown Flushing. He won by just over 100 votes, serving one term.
Grodenchik’s career later took him to borough hall as Deputy Borough President in the final years of former Borough President Helen Marshall’s term, before he ran for a short time to replace her.
In his current campaign, Grodenchik has the support of the county Democratic Party, who came out early to back him. He touts his endorsements in the campaign, which include the district’s former representative Mark Weprin, Borough President Melinda Katz and the Queens Democratic Party chairman Rep. Joe Crowley.
“Barry Grodenchik fights day in and day out for the people of Queens,” said Crowley in the endorsement announcement in June. “From his time in the state assembly, to his leadership in the community, Barry’s track record in helping hardworking families is unmatched.”
Though he lives in Hollis Hills now, Grodenchik grew up in Pomonok Houses, a point he has discussed often during his campaign, especially when discussing affordable housing.
“I grew up in public housing,” he said during a candidate forum sponsored by the Queens Tribune and AARP on Monday night in Glen Oaks. “I understand the need for affordable housing, and that we need more of it in Queens.”
Grodenchik pointed to the “irrational disparity” in tax laws for co-op and condo owners, which leave them with a higher tax rate than owners of private homes, and said as a council members he would look to change that.
On Education, Grodenchik said he would “fight to make sure district schools get their fair share of funding in the City budget, ease overcrowding and actively work with principals and teachers to increase parental involvement in school oversight.”
Grodenchik also vowed to prevent over-reliance on testing in the classroom and will preserve universal Pre-K for all Queens students.
The United Federation of Teachers endorsed Grodenchick on Aug. 31.
“Barry Grodenchik is a strong supporter of public education and UFT is proud to endorse him for City Council,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew in his endorsement of the former assemblyman.
On Transportation issues, Grodenick is an advocate for increased bus service and select bus service. He also said he would like to serve on the Transportation Committee.
One of his ideas is to establish a park and ride with full-time LIRR service to the Belmont Park station, which is currently only open during racing days.
On Senior issues, Grodenchik said he would work to fight for proper funding in the borough for our senior centers and insure that we are able to accommodate all seniors who depend on community facilities.
He has also been critical of Access-A-Ride’s performance.
Grodenchik said the connections he made during his years in public service would make him an effective council member. At Monday’s forum, he noted that he had the cell phone number of a city Department of Transportation employee, whom he called Tim, who he would call if potholes needed to be fixed.
“I have Tim’s phone number and I would call him immediately to get the pothole fixed,” he said, noting that he had already done that while campaigning.