About 100 people learned the campaign platforms last Thursday of Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) — the Democratic candidates vying for the newly created 6th Congressional District seat.
Many new faces from the community were in attendance at the 98th annual meeting of the Kew Gardens Civic Association to meet and greet the Democratic candidates running in the June 26 primary.
Meng introduced herself as a mother, daughter, pet owner, wife, Asian American and candidate, who is dedicated to bridging the gap between the distinct communities of Queens. “Queens is such an amazing borough, it’s very diverse, and I want to help bridge the newer and older communities,” she said.
One of the ways she plans to bridge the communities is through bilingual signs throughout Queens. That notion didn’t sit well with one member of the white audience, who during the question and answer session explained his misgivings about the plan. “We don’t need bilingual signs, what we need to do is to make all the signs in English … that’s the language of success,” the 49 year-old Queens contractor said.
Meng, the county Democratic party’s choice, and an attorney who was born and raised in Queens, made it clear that she has a strong passion for the community she calls home, and bilingual signs would help communication issues. “I’m heavily invested in this community, and I want to make sure the problems we have get solved,” she said.
As a mother of two, one of Meng’s primary focuses is on education. She plans to recruit more Title 1 funding for schools in Queens so that there are enough seats for children within their district. In addition to education, Meng plans to improve Social Security if elected.
Lancman, also an attorney, discussed his humble roots. From the moment he stepped up to the podium, he made it clear that his campaign is about helping ordinary people.
Referring to his youth, he told a story about when he was a teenager living in a rent-stabilized apartment. He and his family were threatened with a rent increase, which they could not afford.
At the age of 16, he responded by joining his local civic association and succeeded in combating the increase. Since then his awareness of the pains inflicted on the working class became clear.
“I can do great things for the community if you give me the opportunity,” he said to attendees. “The deck is really stacked against ordinary people, and I want to level the playing field.”
He plans to do this through taxes for the wealthier class, and more attention to the needs of the elderly when it comes to Social Security. “The problem with Social Security has gotten so bad because people have been afraid to address the problem.”
Lancman’s platform is about making the life of the working class a little bit easier, even if it means that he himself has to pay more taxes, he said.
Crowley’s platform includes putting more money into the public transit system for train and street renovations in order to create jobs, as well as protecting Medicare and Social Security from privatization, and bringing technology to every classroom for a secure educational future.
“I want it so that our children can be advanced and we can protect their higher education opportunities. That’s the American dream,” she said.
The Democratic primary winner will face Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) in the November election.