Bay Terrace businessman David Bressler is currently fine-tuning his campaign to run against state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) for the second time.
Bressler spoke about key issues that would be part of his campaign last week in a sit-down with the TimesLedger Newspapers editorial staff, including student safety, preserving the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, legislative term limits, proper budgeting and tax reduction.
The Republican challenger wants to improve student safety — a top priority of his campaign — by deploying ex-military members and former police officers in schools to prevent potential threats. He also wants to install metal detectors in schools and limit entry for visitors.
Bressler is a strong advocate of retaining SHSAT, contending that eliminating the test for the city’s elite high schools would lower educational and academic standards while sending the message that test prep and high test scores are obsolete.
“I oppose Mayor De Blasio’s proposal to end the SHSAT,” Bressler said. “The answer is not eliminating this test but continuing to reward the students who score high on these tests, just like baseball players get better contracts when they hit more home runs, have a higher batting average, etc.”
He also stressed the importance of expanding tutoring programs and fixing the city’s outdated educational system by, for example, dropping rubber rooms for teachers accused of misconduct.
Bressler also believes the state’s elected officials should be limited to two four-year terms, similar to the City Council and the mayor’s office, in an attempt to halt the dysfunction in the state Legislature, which he said was the most corrupt legislative system in the country.
After launching a run against Braunstein in 2016, Bressler was forced to drop out when the signatures on his nominating petition were challenged. Braunstein was elected to the Assembly in 2010 to replace Ann-Margaret Carrozza, who represented voters in the 26th District, which stretches from College Point to Little Neck before leaving politics for her private law practice.
The regional manager for Bimbo Bakeries between 2003 and June 2018, the nation’s largest bakery company, Bressler said he would also like to improve funding and budgeting while reducing taxes. He claimed that nearly $4 billion in taxpayer funds has been wasted — $2 billion on NYCHA budgeting and $1.8 billion that has been paid in Medicaid premiums.
“There needs to be more accountability and more transparency on spending,” Bressler said. “Based on my experience, budgeting is my field of expertise and I’m confident that I will reduce taxes and government spending to help families once I am elected.”
The Whitestone native said one way to fix the budget issues is to implement a new system that would require review of receipts and invoices, as well as approvals from high level management within government agencies.
Bressler’s campaign support comes from endorsements by the Queens County GOP, along with the Conservative and Reform parties. He has said that while he does not expect any endorsements from Democratic elected officials, he is “open to working with anyone who shares the same concepts and wants to build on those ideas - whether Democrat or Republican. I’m not a Republican with a wall.”
Braunstein, who ran unopposed in 2016 in both the primary and general election, has been District 26’s assemblyman since 2011. As an incumbent, he has been largely unchallenged.
Bressler officially announced that he was going to run against Braunstein at the Queens Village Republican Club’s Lincoln Dinner March 18. The general election is Nov. 6.
A lifelong Queens resident, Bressler graduated from Bayside High School. He has lived in Bay Terrace since 1994.
Bressler was until recently the president of the Bay Club’s board of managers, of which he is still a member. The Bay Club is a gated community near the Bay Terrace Shopping Center which houses 2,400 residents.
“I’m running in this election to challenge Braunstein on a political level, not a personal level,” Bressler said. “I’ve met him a few times - he’s a gentleman, a family man, but I don’t agree with his policies as an assemblyman.”
Reach Steven Goodstein by e-mail at sgood