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City Hall calls to Schulman

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When Forest Hills resident Lynn Schulman, a Democratic candidate for City Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s (D−Forest Hills) seat, stands on the steps of City Hall, she still gets goose bumps.

“City Hall, that’s history,” Schulman said. “It’s the house of local government.”

Schulman has spent much of her life working with and for city government, but she is hoping to serve for the first time as an elected official representing the 29th Council District in City Hall.

The district includes Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Richmond Hill, Maspeth and Elmhurst. Other candidates running for the seat being vacated by Katz are Democrats Heidi Harrison Chain, Karen Koslowitz, Michael Cohen, Mel Gagarin and Joseph Nocerino.

Katz is leaving the seat to run for city comptroller.

Schulman said she believes her background has prepared her well to be a councilwoman, since she has spent much of her life working for and around politicians. The 30−year Forest Hills resident first delved into politics at age 17, when she volunteered for women’s rights advocate Bella Abzug’s unsuccessful bid for mayor.

Most recently, Schulman served as chief of staff to Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez (D−Brooklyn). She is now a senior associate executive director of business affairs at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn. She directs community outreach, marketing and community education efforts.

Schulman is also vice chairwoman of Community Board 6.

In Schulman’s second bid for the district seat, she is focusing on senior and youth issues, health care, affordable housing and development. She ran for the seat in 2001 and lost to Katz, a fellow Democrat.

“I want to make sure seniors have access to transportation, grocery stores and senior centers,” Schulman said.

She is hoping to encourage civic participation among the district’s youth and said, if elected, she wants to create a “junior corps.”

“I’d get kids from local high schools and talk to them about what’s going on in the community,” Schulman said. “I’d create internships in my office for the kids to get them interested in politics.”

With the closing of Parkway, St. John’s and Mary Immaculate hospitals, Schulman said it is more important than ever to focus on the accessibility of health care in the community. She said she would like to explore opening an ambulatory care center in her district to provide increased care for residents, especially Forest Hills’ large senior population.

The candidate said she wants to ensure there is an availability of affordable housing, in particular for the elderly and disabled. As the vice chairwoman of CB 6, she has worked on the recent rezoning proposals for Forest Hills’ Austin Street and Cord Meyer area.

“I want to expand constituent services,” Schulman said. “I want to do a ‘State of the District’ and post it on the Web. I’d like to extend my office hours at night and have weekend hours. I’d like to have a 24−hour hotline.”

Schulman has served two terms on the 112th Precinct Community Council and on the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce. She has received endorsements from state Sen. Thomas Duane (D−Manhattan), former Mayor Ed Koch, former city Public Advocate Mark Green and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D−East Elmhurst).

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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