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The 25th state Assembly District, in northeast Queens, which includes East Flushing and Whitestone, was expected to have a fairly quiet Democratic Party primary this year, with community leader Jerry Iannece being successful. Such was not the case.
A young 26-year-old insurgent, Nily Rozic, ran a campaign against Iannece and won. In her campaign, the Working Families Party played a major role in aiding Rozic’s victory.
This year in New York City was the year of change. Reapportionment led to different district lines being drawn in addition to a significant number of Democratic office holders either retiring or seeking higher office. In the case of the 25th District, Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) gave up his safe Assembly seat to run in the Democratic primary for Congress in the 6th Congressional District.
He was defeated by Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing). This led to the recently concluded primary between Iannece and Rozic, with Rozic winning by a decisive margin.
Rozic’s victory was certainly one of the most surprising results of the primary season. Iannece had the endorsement of most of the Democratic elected officials in the area, including U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Meng, Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), former Borough President Claire Shulman, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and others.
When we look at Iannece’s record of service over the last 20 years, we see a record of accomplishment. From 1995-2002, he served as president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association. He received its Man of the Year Award. From the YMCA during the same period, he received the Community Service Award.
He also served as a board member at St. Roberts Home School Association during the 1990s. Iannece also participated during the 1990s as a Little League coach and coached for the CYO and Bayside Little League.
He held the position of vice president of the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens. He was chairman of the Queens County Columbus Day Parade.
In recent years, Iannece has been chairman of Community Board 11 from 2002-07 and again from 2009 to the present.
A major issue Iannece worked on while chairman of the community board was the Oakland Ravine Project, which stopped major flooding in Bayside, in addition to saving Oakland Lake. He also worked on the rezoning of Queens homes and helped to keep Fire Engine Co. 306 from closing in Bayside during 2010.
It can only be wondered, with such a record of achievement and service for 20 years to the community at large, how Iannece could have lost an Assembly race, especially with most of the district in his own neighborhood.
There definitely was voter apathy. This year we had three sets of primary elections, so registered voters got tired of it. A significant number of them did not want to come out a third time. Many of those who did not show up at the polls were Iannece supporters.
The opposition, as stated, had strong support from the Working Families Party. Labor unions, including the Communication Workers of America, the Teamsters and the Hotel Trade Council, joined in the effort for Rozic against Iannece in the closing days of the campaign. These labor organizations brought plenty of volunteers. They were able to bring into focus a huge campaign organization.
In one statement given by Iannece recently, he said, “I feel I have given a lot of effort in helping to build our community. I had hoped to do even more.”
In summary, it is hard to believe that such an outstanding record held by Iannece would not be approved in terms of winning this recent election.
We wish attorney Iannece success in the future.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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