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Jane Deacy, who is running for the 23rd state Assembly seat vacated by Audrey Pheffer, officially opened her Rockaway Beach office Saturday to kick off what will be a short campaign designed to boost Republican political clout in the area.
“It’s fast and furious,” she said in an interview inside the storefront office, at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive, referring to the roughly month-long period she has to stump until the Sept. 13 special election.
Deacy, who has been a Republican district leader for the last four years, had only three weeks to prepare before opening her office, and lacked the long-term fund-raising efforts many politicians rely on to increase their visibility before an election.
“I’m relying on my supporters,” she said. “This is definitely a grass-roots campaign.”
Handmade sign-up posters hung on the walls of the room, which looked like it could have previously housed a small cell phone store or photo gallery. Colored markers attached to strings dangled from the posters, which many supports used to write their names under categories like “election day volunteers” or “special events.”
Deacy hopes to fill the seat left by Pheffer, a Democrat who was first elected to the Assembly in 1987, but left in May after she was appointed the Queens county clerk.
The seat was left vacant for several months, but on July 1 Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for the special election to be held on Primary Day.
The election is especially important for the Queens Republican Party, which is trying to gain a foothold on three tiers of government.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) represents the party on the city level. If Deacy is elected, it would give Republicans a foothold in the state Legislature.
The party is also backing Bob Turner on the federal level. Turner is involved in a special election against Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) for the congressional seat previously held by Anthony Weiner, who abruptly resigned in June over a sexting scandal.
Both Ulrich and Turner attended the kickoff, and touted the ideals of low taxes and small government they share with Deacy.
“We are on the same page ideologically,” Turner said.
Ulrich said that having an ally on the state level would be helpful in dealing with entities like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to get better service for constituents in the Rockaways.
Deacy said that one of her main priorities would be to repeal the $3.25 toll on the Cross Bay Bridge.
“The toll has to go,” she said. “It’s a noose around the peninsula.”
The toll discourages business development, Deacy said.
She also would investigate how the possible closure of Peninsula Hospital would affect the island’s extensive senior care business.
“They are pulling the plug on a lifeline in the Rockaways,” she said.
She also said quality-of-life issues surrounding the Aqueduct racino project and repealing the MTA payroll tax, which comes out of payrolls of small businesses in the city, would be on her radar.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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