Some of the Queens Democratic Party’s heaviest hitters helped kick off the campaign of state Assembly candidate Phil Goldfeder at his Howard Beach campaign office last Thursday night.
Goldfeder is running to replace former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who retired after taking the vacant Queens county clerk position.
“He has shoes to fill, there’s no doubt about it,” said U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), who is also head of the Queens Democratic Party.
Crowley said Goldfeder’s age, 30, will not be a detriment to his campaign, noting that Goldfeder has kids and a mortgage.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are to some degree if you have those responsibilities,” Crowley said. “That is something that transcends gender. That is something that transcends race, religion. I’m very happy that Phil is representing our party and when he’s elected he’ll represent this district well.”
Goldfeder, a former staffer to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said he was “humble” about getting the backing of the Democratic Party.
Goldfeder said the people of the Assembly district he wants to represent — Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Broad Channel and parts of the Rockaways — are just like him.
“I struggle every month to pay the mortgage and pay the bills on time,” he said. “These are the things I hear all across this district; we’re struggling.”
Goldfeder, who also worked for Pheffer and City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton), appeared to take a swipe at his Republican opponent, District Leader Jane Deacy, saying now is “not the time for on-the-job training.”
Democratic District Leader and Goldfeder supporter Frank Gulluscio said he knew Goldfeder from his days in Pheffer’s office.
“I believe it’s a new generation of leadership,” Gulluscio said of Goldfeder’s candidacy. “I look forward to working with him. It’s important to have someone follow in Audrey’s footsteps that’s aware of both national issues and more importantly the local issues to the benefit of the constituents.”
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) pointed to Goldfeder’s government involvement as an attribute that suits him well in the race.
“I look for candidates who ‘get it’ and Phil ‘gets it,’” Addabbo said. “Hard work pays off. Because he gets it in that way, he’ll get the position.”
Howard Beach resident Barbara Friedman said she has known Goldfeder for four years.
“Phil is a wonderful individual to follow in Audrey’s footsteps,” she said. “He has experience working in both local and national issues. Working in Bloomberg’s office and also Schumer’s office brings nonpartisan decision-making to the community.”
Sanders noted that Goldfeder got his start in politics working in his office.
“I would like to think that I saw something first in him,” the councilman said. “I share the Rockaways with the seat that was held by Audrey Pheffer. She had left such a gap that we have to ensure that we have quality representation for my community and the neighborhood.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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