Forcina vows to help boro

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Whitestone’s Elio Forcina said he is the conservative Democratic candidate in the race to replace state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) and vowed to prioritize services for senior citizens, tax breaks for small businesses and the creation of charter schools.

Forcina, 39, who operates his own law firm in Whitestone, said he was inspired to throw his hat into the now six-way race by northeast Queens residents who come to his office looking for legal aid.

“I knew being able to help constituents one-on-one was something I wanted to do,” he said. “I’m not trying to say I’ll do some grandiose reform of Albany, but I can help with the nuts and bolts of people in the neighborhood. I believe the candidates in this race are too liberal for this district. They are progressives with downtown Manhattan agendas. I’m trying to represent the values of northeast Queens.”

In September, Forcina will face off against three Democrats in the primary election, including Edward Braunstein, who works as a legislative assistant for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan); Steve Behar, an attorney who ran last year in the race to replace then-City Councilman Tony Avella; and John Duane, a former assemblyman in the district and brother of state Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan).

Two Republicans are also vying for Carrozza’s seat: Vince Tabone, an attorney for John Catsimitidis’ Manhattan-based Red Apple Group, and Rob Speranza, a former city police officer who challenged the assemblywoman in 2008.

Carrozza announced earlier this year she would not run for re-election. Her seat covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, College Point and Whitestone.

Forcina, a former Marine who worked at a software company prior to becoming an attorney, said his top campaign priorities are elder care, writing laws that will aid small businesses in northeast Queens, lowering taxes and supporting the creation of charter schools in his district.

“If anyone needs help from our government, it’s our seniors,” Forcina said. “Prices go up, but many of them have fixed incomes. They need senior centers, transportation breaks and to be able to socialize.”

As a small business owner, Forcina said he believes the state should aid businesses that create jobs.

“Small businesses drive the economy in this district,” he said. “I want it to be easier for them to get loans, so they can give back to the district. They need tax breaks and less regulation.”

He also believes the state should reform both its property and small business tax laws.

“People just want to work and feed their families,” he said. “They want money to raise their children. Government gets in the way of economic growth.”

In terms of the district’s educational needs, Forcina said he wants to combat overcrowding problems in borough schools. But he also believes in the creation of charter schools in northeast Queens.

“Every one of my fellow candidates have talked about reform, but they are all kissing up to the UFT leaders,” he said, referring to the United Federation of Teachers union. “In charter schools, principals have more authority over where the money goes. I support what’s best for parents and in the best interest of children.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 6:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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