Isaac Sasson, a Lottery winner and retired cancer researcher from Flushing who has previously set his eye on public office, officially announced he is running for City Council.
Sasson made the announcement at his campaign headquarters, at 141-24 Jewel Ave. in Kew Gardens Hills Sunday, joined by fixtures in the Queens Democratic Party, including former Councilman Morton Povman and former congressional candidate Jeff Gottlieb, as well as several area rabbis.
Sasson is running for the 24th District, which covers Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens and other neighborhoods and is currently held by Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). Gennaro is being term-limited out of office at the end of this year. Former state Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Briarwood community activist Andrea Veras are also vying for the seat along Democratic party lines.
Many of those who spoke out in support of Sasson’s candidacy said they favored him because he is not a career politician, and Sasson pledged to keep his priorities with the people.
“I want to do what’s good for the community,” Sasson told TimesLedger Newspapers.
Sasson told a crowd gathered at his headquarters that his campaign would be funded by his own fortune, he would not accept outside money and, if he won, he would donate all his salary to a charity that helps the local community.
He also spoke to TimesLedger about his platform, saying he wanted to stop the reduction of police officers and add more cops to the force. He also said he wanted to help small businesses by providing tax breaks and easing regulations.
“Where is the money going?” he said, railing against the large city budget. “We’ve got to get a handle on all this.”
Povman said he supported Sasson because he thinks the district needs a new way of looking at things.
“He understands people, he understands their problems,” he said.
Povman said although he is supporting Sasson, he thought the field of candidates for District 24 was strong, putting voters in a good position.
Sasson’s current bid is not his first brush with campaigning. He previously ran for Council in 2003 and 2009 and for state Senate in 2010, but he was defeated in each race.
An observant Jew, Sasson is active in the Jewish community and his announcement was infused with religious overtones. Before giving his speech, he hung a mezuzah, a parchment inscribed with passages from the Torah, by the front door, and several area rabbis endorsed Sasson for his Council bid.
But Povman took pains to emphasize that Sasson is a candidate for all people, not just the Jewish community.
“I want everyone to know that we’re not considering Isaac the Jewish candidate, because there are other Jewish candidates in this race,” he said.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cn
©2013 Community News Group