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Jamaica women challenge Cook in fall Assembly race

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Cook, who is also running on the Working Families ticket, has secured funds to build a youth center in southeast Queens, although details on the center had yet to be decided, she said."I work at this every day," Cook said. "I've been working here for a very long time."Hunter has been involved in politics for years and has worked on campaigns for President Ronald Reagan, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but this will be the first race where her name is on the ticket, she said."I decided to run because I really felt the community needed a Republican representative," Hunter said. "This is a heavy Democratic area and they really dominate the voters. I feel that I want to bring something new and different for the community."Hunter, who is also on the Conservative line, listed education, senior citizen issues and the overcrowding in the southeast Queens community as the top issues in the district, she said.Hunter works as a legal assistant and community liaison for Mays and Associates law firm in Jamaica, she said. While there she helped launch the Get Smart program to teach young people about the judicial system and help keep them out of it, she said.Hunter wants to incorporate young people into her campaign and get them involved and interested in politics and voting, she said.Gordon, of Jamaica, is hoping the second time is the charm. Gordon ran against Cook in 2002 on the Democratic and Independent tickets but lost on both fronts."Basically I think it's important to make an impact in the community and let people know that it's not just one person who has an interest in the needs of the people in the community," Gordon said.Gordon has been a longtime leader of the Business Leaders of Tomorrow, a youth group dedicated to teaching teenagers entrepreneurial and work skills, she said. She has also started other youth programs, including an initiative with the Department of Probation to teach business and leadership skills to young people on probation for minor crimes, she said.Fighting unemployment is another of Gordon's priorities, she said."We've got homelessness in the streets and hunger," Gordon said. "We can see that people are jobless. If they have jobs the homelessness will subside, the hunger will subside."Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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