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Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-South Ozone Park) said she will not wage a traditional campaign against Democratic challenger Rachel Gordon in the Sept. 10 primary, but dont take that as a sign the 65-year-old Albany veteran has given up on politics.
Im going to leave it up to the people in my district to decide whether they want to send me back, she said in an interview last week. If Ive done a good job, they will send me back. If not, they wont.
Cook is confident the voters will return her to Albany and points to a record of leadership and a series of projects she has in the works as evidence.
She mentions the fledgling Rockaway Boulevard Local Development Corporation and its plans to revitalize a stretch from 134th to 145th streets, a planned Rochdale Village youth center and a remanufacturing program at York College that would teach students to remake old auto parts as projects she is excited to see to completion.
I am in the middle of the economic development boom here in Jamaica, she said. Communities grow when economic development is going on. Were actually building Jamaica.
Cook already has supported various building and reconstruction projects, including the building of an extension to Baisley Pond Park at 150th Street in South Jamaica.
To continue with the revitalization, Cook will have to defeat Gordon, a South Jamaica native, who is one of the first challengers she has faced since winning office in 1990. The district covers Jamaica, South Jamaica, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens and Rochdale Village. Kew Gardens was removed through the redistricting process.
Cook has been a district leader for 17 years, is the chairwoman of the Queens County Democratic Committee and serves on six assembly committees.
Despite her enthusiasm for the revitalization of south Queens, Cook, like most candidates running for office in Queens, said education was the greatest challenge facing the borough.
She noted that parents need to become more involved in the boroughs schools and said she was anxious to see how Mayor Michael Bloomberg would handle control of the newly formed Department of Education.
He wanted the challenge. He wanted to be responsible, she said. I think we should hold his feet to the fire and make him responsible.
Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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