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State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) says he has more work to do in his district, but Republican Anthony Como said he hopes the anti-incumbent atmosphere will lead him to victory in the general election Nov. 2.
Addabbo and Como are running for the seat in the 15th State Senate district, which encompasses Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth as well as sections of Ridgewood, Rego Park, South Ozone Park and Sunnyside.
Addabbo is a Tudor Village resident whose father served as a congressman for 25 years. He was originally a councilman, taking office from 2002-08, and he has been on the Senate for two years.
“What I need to do is still more for the people I serve,” Addabbo said.
Addabbo said he understood that there was a frustration and anger in his constituency, but pointed out that elected officials share their feelings. He said he has tried to be a presence to his constituents and has attended numerous civic meetings and senior centers.
“There was a disconnect between the constituents and their senator,” Addabbo said of former Sen. Serphin Maltese, a Republican whom he defeated two years ago. “That’s why I ran in ’08.”
Como, a Middle Village resident and former city councilman for seven months in 2008, said he is running because he feels there has been a lack of reform in the district and that elected officials have been reactive, not proactive about the problems facing constituents.
He also said he disagreed with the decisions of state legislators who passed this year’s budget, criticizing the increased taxes, especially the raises on property, clothing and shoes taxes.
“You have to put some sort of cap on the money we’re going to be spending,” Como said.
In response Addabbo said while he supported the clothing tax, he said he was against taxes on soda or on wine and business, which he said would hurt middle-class residents and small businesses. He said any taxes raised now would be lowered when the economy was better, citing taxes that were increased during his time on the Council in 2002 after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but then rolled back in 2004.
“People by and large understand this,” Addabbo said.
The state senator also called for an independent audit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“You can never convince me that the MTA loses money,” Addabbo said.
One area where Como said residents needed more representation is the Aqueduct Race Track.
A state inspector general’s report into the selection of Aqueduct Entertainment Group for a state contract to build and operate a racino at the track called into question Addabbo’s participation in the bid process, suggesting that he was more involved in the flawed process than he claimed to be.
Como called on the U.S. attorney’s office to further investigate Addabbo’s involvement and said the community deserves to know if jobs at the new racino will go to district residents.
“The neighborhood is just not ready for it,” Como said of the racetrack.
Addabbo said the bulk of the dealings at Aqueduct occurred before he took office. He said Aqueduct would economically benefit the community and that it would reinvigorate the state’s thoroughbred racing industry.
“We got to save Aqueduct as a race track,” Addabbo said.
Como said that if is elected, his style of governing would be proactive rather than reactive. He said he wants independent redistricting, term limits for Senate members, more transparency in government and taxes cut.
“We basically have to undo the damage that’s been done for the last year and a half,” Como said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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