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David Weprin touts his support of Israel

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State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) took his campaign for Congress Monday to the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills, where he told the center’s Golden Age Club that he opposes a House of Representatives GOP plan to privatize Medicare and Social Security and played up his credentials on Israel.

“I’ve taken about five trips to the state of Israel over the last 15 years or so,” Weprin said, noting he led two missions to the Jewish state, and he opposes President Barack Obama’s position that Israel go back to its pre-1967 boundaries.

“On this issue, I feel [Obama’s] very wrong,” Weprin told the seniors at the center at 71-25 Main St., saying that Israel’s security “would be in danger” if it went to its original borders. “I hope to be a strong voice ... speaking out when the president is wrong.”

“I don’t think you can find a member of the House that has a stronger record on Israel than I do,” Weprin said.

When asked how his position on Israel differs from that of his special election opponent, retired Rockaway businessman Bob Turner, Weprin, 55, said he did not know what Turner’s positions are.

“I don’t know where he’s been, other than running for office last year,” Weprin said, referring to Turner’s failed campaign against then-Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Weprin called former Mayor Ed Koch’s suggestion that voters in the district vote for Turner as a counter to Obama’s position on Israel “ridiculous.”

Weprin said it is an “exciting” but “scary” time for the country, referring to the debate in Congress over whether to increase the federal debt ceiling.

The 55-year-old assemblyman pointed to his finance experience, including being former Gov. Mario Cuomo’s deputy superintendent for banking from 1983-87 and a 20-year career as an investment banker on Wall Street before entering politics.

Weprin also said his finance background led him to being named the chairman of the Council’s powerful Finance Committee.

“There’s a lot of fiscal challenges” in Washington, Weprin said.

Weprin described himself as progressive on social issues but fiscally conservative and agreed with one senior who said the country holds too much debt.

Weprin said he would tax oil companies and close tax loopholes on yachts and corporate jets.

The congressional candidate also said he is in favor of not reducing Social Security benefits and said he opposes the House GOP plan to “privatize Medicare and Social Security.

“We have to protect our seniors and people with disabilities,” he said.

In a statement, Turner challenged Weprin to join him “in supporting the overturn of Obamacare.”

“David Weprin has been a politician so long that he seems to have forgotten what real people care about,” Turner said. “Hint: They want to choose their own doctors and they don’t want Washington bureaucrats in the examining room with them. As a member of Congress, I will fight to preserve Medicare as we know it by overturning Obamacare. Will Mr. Weprin make the same pledge?”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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