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Comrie talks taxes, housing and more in 2018 race

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State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who is running for re-election, hopes that with a possible Democratic majority in the Senate next year, he will be able to bring about more effective change to his district and New Yorkers as whole.

At present he does not have a challenger in his bid for a third term in the Sept. 13 primary or the Nov. 6 general election.

“I like what I do and I would like to do it at a majority level,” Comrie said Monday in an interview with TimesLedger reporters. “We really have an opportunity to take the majority in the state Senate and direct the agenda, and control the type of legislation that is coming forward.”

Comrie believes that if there were a Democratic majority, common sense legislation that protects consumers, increases voter turnout in New York and brings about tax reform would no longer be “bottled up in the Senate,” controlled by Republicans.

“We have to embrace technology, we have to embrace change and we have to make it easier to make people to want to vote,” said Comrie.

In January, Comrie introduced two voting bills that would authorize ballot by mail by removing the cause for absentee voting and eliminate the requirement that affidavits need to have a voters previous registerd address, instead if there is an issue with an finding a voter’s updated address they can use a Board of Elections form to vote, according to www.nysenate.gov.

“No voter should ever face unnecessary scrutiny at the polls because of errors that are outside of their control,” said Comrie. “The requirement that voters disclose the

address at which they were previously registered is onerous and unnecessary.”

Both bills are currently being reviewed by a committee and have only received co-sponsorship from fellow Democrats, according to www.nysenate.gov.

After Equifax was hacked and the credit agency failed to report the July 2017 data breach to its 143 million customers for six weeks, Comrie introduced three pieces of legislation that following September to require such agencies to disclose data breaches within 15 weeks. He also proposed automatic security freezes on consumer reports and a regulatory mandate over consumer credit reporting agencies by the Department of Financial Services.

All three bills are being reviewed by a committee and only have support from Democrats, according to www.nysenate.gov.

“Our district is over taxed and underfunded,” said Comrie. “When you look at our tax rolls, we get audited more frequently and tax reviewed more frequently then other parts of the city and that imbalance has to be fixed... and I think it’s illegal to a degree.”

The city is currently pushing a $400 tax rebate for middle-class homeowners for fiscal year 2019, but many elected officials want more to be done about the city’s property tax system.

Comrie’s 14th Senate District represents Briarwood, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hillcrest, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Queens Village, Rosedale, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans.

“We have a lot of condos and co-ops in Queens that are facing some major taxes, because their taxes haven’t been corrected in years and it’s going to be a big financial hit for them, and we are going to have to address that,” Comrie said.

The senator also has ideas about how to safeguard affordable housing, create criminal justice reform and provide access to specialized high schools.

“We need to come up with a Mitchell-Lama housing plan where we create opportunities to make more buildings at an affordable rate for multi-family units,” said Comrie. “We need to be able to make sure that we are creating opportunities to sell our properties at affordable rates as well.”

Comrie also wants to address how petty crimes are handled in his district.

“This borough is the only borough where we only have one opportunity for people to have relief from minor violations ... and not go straight to jail,” said Comrie. “We need to have alternative justice programs... there is work release, educational programs, there are guidance and rehab programs, and we need to advertise to people that these things exist.”

Many Democrats have been divided recently on the mayor’s plan to eliminate the Specialized High School Admissions Test to create access to the institutions for low-income, black and Hispanic students, with some elected officials saying the SHSAT needs to remain and that more prep tests and schools are necessary. Supporters of the mayor agree that there should be more forms of acceptance to elite schools instead of a single test.

Comrie falls in the middle. He agrees with having more test prep for students in all districts and not relying solely on a single test, but he believes the best solutions are specialized middle schools and the development of more specialized high schools for the city’s more than one million pupils.

“In my district there are students of color that passed the specialized high school test, but don’t go because their parents don’t want to have to send them to Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan,” Comrie said. “We need another specialized high school in Queens... there is not enough for the borough for the students who want to attend specialized high schools.”

There are eight specialized schools that require only a one-test option and only one of them is in Queens: the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College in Jamaica.

“I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to enhance the community,” said Comrie. “I will constantly work to be an accessible and open elected official... and my continued focus will be to make sure my community is empowered, enlightened and informed.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, July 17, 2018
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Reader feedback

THINK from Queens says:
"he will be able to bring about more effective change to his district"

WHAT A LAUGH, in his long decades of an elected official he has brought NO CHANGE to his filthy garbage strewn crime ridden area. NONE. In fact each year the area gets worse and worse with illegal garbage dumping, illegal curb cuts, illegal conversion, illegal truck driving on residential streets, illegal parking of junked cars by auto repair shops on Merrick Blvd and every other imaginable poor quality of life issue that he, the other elected officials there and church leaders who have ignored all the issues for decades.

I mean look at this blog site I found on Jamaica: https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/

Pictures tell a thousand stories. Comrie is a JOKE, A STOOGE, A DO-NOTHING and USELESS, just collecting political welfare courtesy of the tax payers.
July 17, 5:57 am
Dwayne from Queens says:
Bring about "effective change"...? What the heck has this guy been doing all this time?? Yet another slob sitting around feeding off the fat of the land---while the citizenry continue to vote for incompetence and watching their own nabes melt.
July 17, 7:46 am
Helton from Flushing says:
THINK - The blog site that you found was written by Joe Moretti, a long time Jamaica resident who, like you, was disgusted by what was taking place (or not) in Jamaica.

He tried to hold the politicians' feet to the fire by constantly pointing out the problems, but elected officials did nothing, and Jamaica residents kept voting for the same corrupt Jamaica politicians.

Looks like Joe gave it up last year and says he was looking to move out of NY for good. Not a bad idea based on the direction and taxes of NYC.
July 17, 9:05 am
anon23 from queens says:
Hey Dwayne, how come you did not comment on his weight the way you did with a woman candidate?
July 17, 10:58 am
James from Jamaica says:
Comrie talks.....................BULLSH*T. What a waste. Why do folks in that area keep voting for this dunce. I guess they like to keep their place a disaster.
July 17, 7:14 pm
Eve from Flushing says:
Based on your comments on Jamaica as a "crime ridden" and "filthy" area, y'all clearly don't live there. Comrie grew up in Jamaica, is a person of color representing a majority community of color, AND still lives in the district he represents. SO, he knows what's going on in his neighborhood and he's probably heard all of your sentiments before.
July 18, 9:46 pm
Eve from Flushing says:
Don't hate on Comrie and Jamaica if you haven't read up on his background and track record as a senator, and if you don't even live there. Also, if Joe Moretti of "Clean Up Jamaica Queens" hated his neighborhood that much, why didn't he just move out?
July 18, 9:48 pm
THINK from Queens says:
Eve from Flushing. YOU have no idea what you are talking about, you obviously know little about the Jamaica community and you know even less of the do nothing Comrie and all his hack elected officials from that area.

Jamaica IS FILTHY, I mean what facts like photos are meaningless to you. I mean what the hell are you seeing. AND facts are facts, the Greater Jamaica area does have high crime statistics, the highest in Queens, especially South Jamaica.

SO it is clearly YOU DON'T LIVE there. OF course he has to live in the area. Elected officials of their community HAVE to live in the area they represent.

WOW, what a completely ignorant, ill-informed person you are. BUT not surprising in this day and age.
July 19, 7:50 am
James from Jamaica says:
I live in Jamaica and have lived there for decades (back when Jamaica was actually a very nice community).

So to this Eve person, you obviously do not live in the area, otherwise you would not be making such a statement. I have seen Jamaica go from a great community to raise a family in the 50's to the downhill of the 70's, the crack epidemic of the 80's and the mess it is currently with over development, lack of proper services, CRIME, yes there is crime, especially rape and assaults and the place is FILTHY, where people not only through litter all over the place, but others actually dump mounds of garbage all over. And as for Leroy Comrie, I remember when he assisted another bad elected official, Archie Spigner, who also did little for the community. Then there are all the Jamaica elected officials who have gone to jail (Shirley Huntley, William Scarborough, Malcolm Smith and Ruben Wills). While Comrie did not get caught up in all of that, he has been a poor elected official who has done from little to nothing to help improve this community, but then a big problem within this community are the many people who have a total lack of respect for this community and neighbors.

So Eve from Flushing, you are so transparent in your totally false and ignorant comments. Either you work in Comrie's office, are friends with him or just another totally clueless person.
July 19, 7:59 am
Jamie B Goode from Springfield Gardens says:
I think Eve from Flushing must be an idiot, because her comments don't make sense, she provides no actual facts and ignores what a mess the area really is.

Now go "hate" on that Eve from BULLSH*TVILLES.
July 19, 1:48 pm

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