Although Swaranjit Singh officially kicked off his campaign for City Councilman David Weprin’s (D-Hollis) seat just last weekend, the Bellerose resident has long been working on the bid and his camp said at Saturday’s gathering that the efforts have paid off.
Singh, a Community Board 13 member, said he had already received the 900 signatures every Democratic candidate needs to be formally placed on the ballot for September’s primary two weeks ago and he plans on getting many more.
“People are so excited about my campaign,” Singh said Saturday at his campaign headquarters on Union Turnpike in Bellerose. “People are coming into my office all the time now to get signs and to give signatures.”
Singh is running against Democratic candidates Bob Friedrich, who has been cross-endorsed by Republicans, and state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) for the 23rd District, which includes Bellerose, Glen Oaks, New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Queens Village and parts of Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Cambria Heights and Douglaston.
Singh’s supporters who attended the kick-off and Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a mayoral candidate, lavished praise on Singh, saying he would work hard to bring minorities into city government. Avella said Singh as a Sikh understands what it is like to be underrepresented — there are no Sikhs in the City Council — and would attempt to give often overlooked populations a voice.
“A representative government needs to understand the needs of its communities,” said Avella, who has endorsed Singh. “If you don’t understand the needs of the Southeast Asian community, how can we possibly help themi Bringing them into the process is essential.”
Bellerose resident Marge Fiedler said she was especially pleased with Singh’s support for senior citizens’ issues. Fiedler met Singh through the group, Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Without Walls, a group that helps seniors remain in their homes as they age.
“I like that he wants to help seniors and that he’s interesting in the economy,” Fiedler said. “He wants to help everybody in the whole world. I appreciate his sincerity. He’ll talk to you about issues you may not be happy with, and I find that admirable.”
Nick Bambino said Singh made a strong impression on him from the start — especially since at the time Singh was apprehending a burglar who had broken into his home.
“There were at least 20 police, guns were waving, and police went off chasing one member of the burglary team,” Bambino said. “Then Mr. Singh came out and confronted the burglar and held them until police came.”
Bambino said he would like his next Council person to work on illegal renting in Queens.
“There are additional cars and additional garbage,” Bambino said. “That’s a very big concern. It changes the neighborhood.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson