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Huntley campaigning on record in re-election bid

State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) said she has done a lot during her nearly two terms as the elected official for the 10th Senate District and she promised to use her experience over the last four years to make the community better.

Huntley said the campaign for the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, where she is facing 25-year-old real estate business owner Lynn Nunes, is not detracting from her work up in Albany. In fact, the incumbent said her campaign and Senate duties are complementing each other because her constituents are able to see the results of her performance in the Legislature and make the decision to re-elect her.

“I’m campaigning on my record,” she said. “The campaign is one thing, but I continue to do my government business.”

Huntley, who was elected in 2006, said she would like to continue her focus on improving education in her neighborhoods that include Jamaica, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and parts of Forest Hills. The senator, who was a member of the Community Education Council in District 28, said the biggest problem in today’s schools is that parents are not taking a hands-on role in their children’s academics.

She said she would work to make sure the school governance package law is enforced and see to it that the parents’ training center at York College is properly set up so they can better understand the city’s education system.

“The problem in education is that there is so much red tape with parents,” she said. “I get so many calls where people ask how do you do this? How do you get into certain schools? How do you get things for their children?”

The incumbent is also focusing on health care since southeast Queens has been left with a medical void following the closing of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica last year. Huntley said she would like to bring a new first-care clinic to Richmond Hill to help fill that void.

“There is nothing like the Joe Addabbo clinic there,” she said. “There are no walk-ins or anything.”

The senator has been criticized by gay rights groups for her no-vote against gay marriage last year, but Huntley said the vote was taken out of context. She said she has been a supporter of gay rights, but for the marriage vote she took a poll of her constituents and voted on their behalf.

“Sixty-two percent of my district said no for [marriage] equality,” she explained. “It was not personal. It was for my district.”

Huntley said she cannot control what reasons people vote for her, but said that her work on all issues as a whole speaks for itself.

“For the past few years, I have done everything that I said I would do when I went to the Senate,” she said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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