Iannece, Rozic gain support after controversy

Jerry Iannece (l.) and Nily Rozic pick up endorsements ahead of the Democratic Party state Assembly primary.
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Democratic primary candidates hoping to represent the seat currently held by state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) pulled in endorsements in the wake of a fracas involving a neighborhood civic organization’s controversial blog post.

Queens Democratic Party-backed candidate Jerry Iannece, chairman of Community Board 11, is involved in a Democratic primary with CB 8 member Nily Rozic, who served as chief of staff to Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) until the campaign.

On Saturday, Rozic was endorsed by The New York Times, and last Thursday, she received the nod of several good government groups, which the first-time hopeful’s campaign said was crucial in the wake of indictments and allegations that have plagued members of the state Legislature.

“I am honored to earn the support of Citizens Union and Citizen Action New York, government reform groups that understand the importance of restoring fairness and transparency in our democracy,” Rozic said in a statement.

Iannece, on the other hand, last week received the nod from U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), though both are closely associated with the political party that also endorsed Iannece.

“I have seen Jerry work to improve Queens for over a decade as a community board chair and civic leader,” Ackerman said in a Sept. 5 statement. “He has been a strong and dedicated leader in his community and this experience will make him a great assemblyman in Albany.”

The endorsements came on the heels of a slightly more controversial nod from the Bayside Hills Civic Association, an organization that advocates on behalf of the residential area. Iannece headed the civic about a decade ago and is still a board member of the organization, which had adamantly supported his campaign.

An Aug. 20 post on the civic’s website referred to Rozic as an “instant opponent” and opined, “I have no idea why anyone would want to vote for the ‘instant opponent.’ My only guess is that it would have something to do with ethnicity.”

Rozic was born in Jerusalem, and the district in question — which runs from parts of Flushing to Douglaston and also includes most of Bayside Hills — has a large Jewish population.

The blog had also posted an interactive survey question asking visitors “How should an American decide on a candidate?”

The choices were: “Pick the candidate with the most experience and a long record of service to the community” or “Pick the candidate whose ethnicity is the same as yours, even if he or she is not qualified to hold office.”

Rozic’s camp blasted the posts, saying, “This divisive rhetoric has no place in this election, in Queens or in Democratic politics. We call on candidate Jerry Iannece and all elected officials to denounce this despicable attack as well as the group from which it stemmed.”

But Iannece’s camp denied any connection between the post and the candidate.

“Jerry Iannece hasn’t been president of the group for 10 years and has nothing to do with its website. He does, however, have a decades-long record of community involvement and strong supporters from every corner of this diverse community,” campaign spokesman William Watts said.

Michael Fernier, president of the civic, said the sentence containing the word “ethnicity” was taken down and that the question was removed from the site.

“It was taken down and I don’t want to talk about ethnicity anymore,” he said. “I’m a big supporter of Jerry Iannece. I am proud of all of his accomplishments and I hope he wins.”

The civic is not a tax-exempt organization, and thus can legally endorse and support one candidate over another.

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

Updated 3:50 am, September 13, 2012
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Reader feedback

Lou from Bayside says:
An endorsement by Ackerman? Oh yeah thats our wonderful Congressman with ethics issues! Just the ringing endorsement a phony like Iannece needs. Jerry Iannece supporter of abortion, wants to vote on public school issues even though his children always atttended public schools. This phony has been a loser on multiple elections and he should be a loser here too. The community does not need to be represented by yet another hack Attorney who will compromise and sell out to everything and everyone in order to set up a lucrative lobbying position for himself! The community can do better than this, that is for sure!
Sept. 12, 2012, 1:12 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
And Quinn! Oh yeah Bayside residents , shes another pro abortion pro so called gay marriage politician who believes in things Jerrys church tells him are wrong . Yet jerry goes to Mass every week openly violating the teachings of his Church. A man of principles, thats what we need!
Sept. 12, 2012, 1:31 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
And if I was a supporter of Israel Id be very wary of Iannece after those comments, in light of the negative attitude of our current federal administration towards Israel!
Sept. 12, 2012, 3:51 pm
Queens voter from Flushing says:
Why would anyone vote for another man with a bad toupee. Why would anyone vote for someone who is endorsed by David Weprin, another man with a bad toupee.
Sept. 13, 2012, 11:16 pm
Lou from Bayside says:

Could'nt have said it better myself! Well done!
Sept. 14, 2012, 5:57 am
John from Fresh meadows says:
Hey dopey,
What do you think is going to happen now that Nily won? Are you too ignorant to understand that all the democrat politicians that supported Jerry will now support Nily?
That's what politicians do, they endorse candidates when they run. And dopey beware for what you wish...the way I see it, Nily is looking more like the puppet, or the yes me person, that was helped to a win to really become that hack you talk about.
PS I think you have a crush on Jerry and should bring flowers on your first date.
Oct. 16, 2012, 11:34 pm

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