GOP picks district leader Marco DeSena to run for Albany

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The Queens GOP has tapped former Republican district leader and communications consultant Marco DeSena to run against Democrat Mike Simanowitz in the race to replace former state Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, who retired in April after nearly 30 years in Albany.

DeSena, 30, is also an adjunct professor at Baruch College in Manhattan.

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa touted DeSena’s “outsider” credentials in backing him in the race.

The party described him as “more of a technocrat than an ideologue.”

“We are proud to endorse Marco DeSena, a candidate who understands the values and concerns of Queens families and seniors who are struggling to make ends meet,” Ragusa said in a statement. “He understands the need to create jobs and control costs. It is about time we had an outsider in the Assembly from Queens like DeSena fighting for us instead of Albany insiders.”

The comment was a thinly veiled dig at Simanowitz, who served as Mayersohn’s chief of staff for much of her career.

DeSena, a College Point resident, said he knows the district, which includes College Point, Whitestone, Fresh Meadows, Electchester, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.

DeSena said the people of the district “are sick of the nonsense in Albany.

“My approach to legislation will be: Does it make sense? Then I’ll consider it. Does it raise taxes? Then I won’t even think of considering it. It’s time to clean up Albany and get some outsiders in there.”

DeSena does communications work and speechwriting and the Queens GOP said his “perspective” is needed in Albany and would help the borough’s small business owners and nonprofits.

DeSena’s candidacy is not his first brush with politics. Last year he served as senior policy and communications adviser to U.S. Senate candidate David Malpass, who lost to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

In 2007 and 2008, DeSena was deputy director of policy research and an assistant speechwriter for former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s failed presidential bid.

In 2006, he served as a policy analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Free Enterprise Fund, a conservative think tank, where he conducted economic research for congressional advocacy purposes to advance financial regulatory reform.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 11:59 am, October 12, 2011
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