BY LUIS GRONDA
Dymtro Fedkowskyj believes that he can defeat the incumbent with a grassroots-focused campaign.
Fedkowskyj chatted with the Queens Tribune on Tuesday morning to discuss his bid to win the State Assembly District 30 seat against incumbent Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth).
Education is one of Fedkowskyj’s main platforms, citing overcrowding in the schools within AD30 as one of its major problems. Fedkowskyj was the Queens representative on the Panel for Educational Policy prior to launching his campaign last year.
When asked why he decided to run against Markey, Fedkowskyj said her lack of involvement in the district led him to pursue the State Assembly seat, which encompasses Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Middle Village, Astoria, Sunnyside and Long Island City.
One example he mentioned involved saving the Gifted and Talented program in District 30 schools. Fedkowskyj said he and other PEP members convinced then-schools chancellor Dennis Walcott to keep the program at PS 122 in Astoria instead of getting rid of it and co-locating it with another school.
On that issue, Fedkowskyj said Markey was nowhere to be found in terms of fighting to keep the program in that school.
“She was nowhere, she was invisible,” he said. “That was what really precipitated me to move forward on this. I didn’t have a legislator in my district that was fighting for me. I was a constituent, I was a voter and I never heard from her. I heard from her on Election Day or a few weeks from Election Day, I’d get a mailer.”
He also said Markey refused to stand with parents and other local leaders six years ago, when they were drumming up support to build Maspeth High School.
Responding to a question about why he would not run for a City Council seat instead of the State Assembly to better address City education issues, Fedkowskyj said the election for the AD30 seat is this year and it was not a thought in his mind to run for City Council. Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) was reelected last year and is not up for reelection until 2017.
He also said the State Assembly has an important role in many important issues like education in Queens and New York City, including whether or not to renew mayoral control of school next year.
Fedkowskyj said he would support taking control of schools away from the mayor and putting it within the school districts. He said more parental involvement is needed if something like mayoral control is going to work and that needs to be vastly improved.
“Mayoral control can work. It is an effective method, but it can’t work if we’re not including the stakeholders. I know they tried to make those changes four years ago but it didn’t work,” he said.
On a more local issue, Fedkowskyj said he is opposed to opening a homeless shelter at the Cooper Avenue site in Glendale. He said his main contention with the proposal is that there is not a plan to operate that shelter and no schools to place all the kids that would be living in the shelter.
“If we want to provide a better life for homeless people, putting them in the middle of somewhere that lacks transportation and next to a chemical plant is not improving their lives,” he said.
Other priorities for his campaign, according to Fedkowskyj, include boosting jobs in the district and increasing and maintaining living benefits for seniors. He also said more funding is needed for police officers in the district and throughout the City to stop smaller crimes and prevent them from becoming bigger crimes as well.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @luisgronda.