"Nobody does it like I do," Seminerio said, sitting at a table with his family as patrons were served traditional Italian food at the $200-per-person event. "Look at that food. That's how I serve my constituents."Seminerio, 73, said he was most proud of constituent service during his time serving Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village."The bottom line is I helped everybody who needed help," he said. "On a scale of one to 10, I was a good eight or nine. And I'm proud of that."The assemblyman's son, John Seminerio, said his father's critics have called him a "Republican in Democratic clothing," but he contended that his father's ability to compromise has attributed to his success."When everybody's posturing about this and that, he has the ability to get stuff done," John Seminerio said. "Everybody forgets this, but about 15 years ago, he saved the firemen's pension fund. ...He stood behind the [police department] and the detective's endowment and got them bills that made it more attractive to go to work. That's what you're here for, you're here to get the people's business done. You're not here to posture."He said his father's dedication to the community comes from his roots growing up in East New York, Brooklyn."Everything revolved around the neighborhood you came from," John Seminerio said. "That's his frame of reference. It's very local. People always respond to him in the district."Asked whether his father was showing any signs of slowing down after his long tenure in the assembly, John Seminerio said, "He's very happy. He's given up cussing people in public, so yeah, I guess he's slowing down a bit."But in addressing the crowd, Seminerio said he still plans to represent the district in Albany."I want to retire. My wife won't let me retire," he said. "So I'm gonna run one more time."The candid legislator also crooned for the crowd, singing "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" and "My Way."Simcha Waisman, who used to own a print shop on Jamaica Avenue, recalled the first time he met Seminerio 30 years ago when he was mounting his first campaign and had few campaign funds."One day, he came in and said to me, 'Sir, my name is Tony Seminerio. I'm running for Assembly and I need you to do all my printing. I don't know how much you charge, I don't know how much (money) I have, I don't know how much I owe you, but in the end, trust me, I won't owe you a penny.' I shook his hand and from there we became personal friends."Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
©2008 Community News Group
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