BY LYNN EDMONDS
Joseph Concannon announced his candidacy for City Council on Monday, making him the fourth candidate to jump into the race to succeed former Councilman Mark Weprin, who left the post empty last week.
The former police Captain and United States. Army veteran promised to prioritize public safety.
“I will be a champion of law and order here in New York City,” he told a crowd of twenty-odd individuals outside of the 105th Precinct in Queens Village.
For supporters like Barbara Svitlik Ph.D., RN., that was a major selling point. “I am very concerned about advancing crime,” she said. A registered nurse, Svitlik said fear of crime had prevented her patients in New York City from seeking care in a timely manner.
Svitlik said she trusted Concannon to handle crime because of his law enforcement background. “He knows what he’s doing, he’s an ex-police captain,” she said.
Concannon said crime levels had spiked under the de Blasio administration.
“That is Bill de Blasio’s city. That is not our city,” Concannon said, referring to what he described as a “dramatic increase of shooting, and shooting incidents.”
In fact, there was a 20 percent increase in murders between the first two months of 2015 and the first two months of 2014, according to CompStat.
Some supporters agreed de Blasio’s policies was part of the problem, particularly his decision to reform stop and frisk. “As soon as you curtail stop-and-frisk, you see crime rise,” Svitlik said.
Concannon also criticized the choice of City Council members to stage a protest in support of black men slain by police in Dec. 2014, saying the “die-in” catered to “special interests” and was not representative of the broader constituency.
“My name is Joseph Concannon and I support our police,” he underscored.
Aside from policing, the candidate promised to prioritize jobs and education, citing the labor market’s importance in keeping a community healthy and crime-free.
And supporters, likewise, had additional issues on their mind. Constituent Beuala Wilson said she wanted the roads re-paved and a senior center. A Queens Village resident since 1979, Wilson made a public statement that though she’d been a Republican for a long time, Concannon was the first candidate to make her “feel included.” Before she could get the words out, the crowd began chanting “Joe for New York!” but they fell silent when Concannon led her to the podium.
In an interview, Wilson said Concannon had impressed her by coming to one of her Queens Village Civic Association meetings, something she said no other politicians had done.
Concannon has run this race before. A Republican in a primarily Democratic district, he garnered 16 percent of the vote as an Independent in the 2013 race against Weprin.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was at the announcement to offer words of encouragement.
“There might be some people who say that he can’t win. That it is a Democratic district. That’s what they said to me years ago,” Ulrich said.
Leader of the Queens Conservative party Thomas M. Long also voiced his support, as well as vice president of the Queens Village Republican Club Hemant Shah and members of the Indian American Intellectual Forum Narain Kateria and Arish Shah.
Concannon, a Republican, would face the winner of the September Democratic primary in November.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana.