Pheffer seat contenders make final push to get votes

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Less than a week remained for the two candidates vying for the 23rd state Assembly seat, and Republican Jane Deacy and Democrat Phil Goldfeder were combing the Rockaways trying to curry favor before the Sept. 13 election.

In stark contrast to the congressional campaign being waged in the 9th District, the race between Deacy and Goldfeder has been devoid of attack ads and barbs traded between the two candidates.

Both Deacy and Goldfeder live in the Rockaways and have bases of support clustered in various neighborhoods around the island.

They have largely kept to simple campaign tactics: Get out and meet the voters.

“I’ve spent my career working every corner of this borough and this city. I’m not about to stop now,” Goldfeder said, indicating he has been canvassing all areas of his district regardless of their status as Democratic or Republican strongholds. “I will continue to fight for the need of every constituent and I can’t do that without talking to everyone from every area.”

Michael Coppotelli, campaign manager for Deacy, also said that meeting voters was the main focus for the campaign.

“We are campaigning all across the district we are not taking anything for granted,” he said. “It’s not about party, religion or creed. It’s about how you help the taxpayers, make sure you’re responsible with their money and bring reform to the dysfunction that is Albany.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Goldfeder had spent twice as much as Deacy for the campaign, according to documents from the state Board of Elections. Deacy had spent a total of $26,653.80 while Goldfeder had spent $66,024.26.

Both candidates agree on several issues, like the need to promote more business in the Rockaways. Both have expressed their desire to abolish the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge and indicated that tax breaks or credits need to be given to small businesses to encourage hiring.

But they also differ as well.

Goldfeder has worked in offices of numerous elected officials, like U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the woman who formerly held the 23rd state Assembly seat, Audrey Pheffer. And he is proud of that experience.

He said the 23rd District would best be served by investing in small business and improving transportation options to the Rockaways, Howard Beach and other parts of the district.

“I’ve been fighting on behalf of the public for 10 years,” he said. “These are not issues that are new to me. I look forward to bring a fresh voice to governance with experience.”

Deacy on the other hand has signed a pledge not to vote for any bill that raises taxes.

She said lower taxes and less bureaucratic legislation will free the business environment from constraint and kick-start the economy, according to Coppotelli.

“[Job growth] is the No. 1 issue facing the district,” Coppotelli said.

Deacy also wants to eliminate the MTA payroll tax, which takes a certain amount from business owners when they pay each employee to support public transportation.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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