Beep supports Avella’s bid for council

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Community activist and third-time City Council candidate Tony Avella announced Monday he had been endorsed by Queens Borough President Claire Shulman in the crowded race to succeed term-limited City Councilman Mike Abel (R-Bayside).

Avella is one of five Democrats running for Abel’s seat in the 19th Council District. A Republican candidate is also competing for the office.

The College Point activist and former chief of staff for state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) ran for the 19th City Council District seat twice before, in 1991 and 1993, but lost both bids for the office.

This time around Avella has received the backing of the Queens Democratic Party, a number of Democratic clubs and Shulman, giving him an edge in the crowded race.

Shulman, a longtime resident of Bayside and Whitestone, said in a statement: “I am happy to lend my support to Tony Avella, a longtime community advocate and dedicated public servant.”

The borough president, who first took office in 1986 and is also restricted from running again by the city’s term limits law, denied speculation early in the race that she was considering running for Abel’s council seat.

The 19th Council District includes the communities of Bayside, Bay Terrace, Douglas Manor, Whitestone, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Malba, Linden Hill, and parts of Douglaston, Little Neck and Murray Hill.

Abel, who has held the seat for 10 years, is prohibited from running again by the city’s term limits law, which restricts elected officials to two four-year terms in office.

The other Democratic candidates running for Abel’s seat include union leader Arthur Cheliotis, civic leader Jerry Iannece, community activist John Frank, and activist Joyce Shepard. Republican lawyer Dennis Saffran is also in the contest for the council post.

In a statement Avella applauded Shulman’s long record of public service and said he was honored by her endorsement.

“She has set a very high standard for public service and will long be remembered by the people of Queens for all she has achieved in improving education, health care and the quality of life within the borough,” he said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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