City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) said he plans to seek a third term after voting to extend term limits last week and hinted that he would likely run for Queens borough president in five years.
Vallone, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee, had originally indicated that he would pursue the borough’s highest office next year when Borough President Helen Marshall would have been term−limited out of office.
But Vallone said he would not run against Marshall following the City Council’s 29−22 vote last Thursday to extend term limits. Her spokesman said Tuesday she will vie for a third term.
Vallone, who voted in favor of extending the limits, said he would run for a third term in 2009 to retain his Council seat.
“I look forward to putting my credentials back before the voters next November,” he said. “I’ve closed the door to a Queens−wide opportunity that I thought was very possible. I will not run against Helen Marshall, but I look forward to running for a borough−wide office in five years.”
Vallone said he decided to support extending term limits for city officials amid a city, state and national economic downturn, contending that city residents should be given the opportunity to vote for elected officials with greater experience.
He said he believed that two four−year terms did not give elected officials enough time to see capital projects through.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Vallone said of his vote on term limits. “I’m one of the few Council members who voted against his own best interests. But, at its core, this is a debate between the practical application of our government and the Democratic ideals that are its foundation.”
Vallone said he believed a referendum would be the best method to determine whether term limits should be extended. In a Quinnipiac poll taken last week, voters overwhelmingly said they supported a referendum on the matter.
But Vallone said he did not think that was an option.
“Everybody agreed that we should have done a referendum this November, but it probably wouldn’t have happened until next summer,” he said. “That would result in governmental paralysis during a time of financial crisis.”
Vallone had previously voted in favor of eight−year term limits in 1993 and 1996.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@time
©2008 Community News Group
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