Republican Alex Blishteyn, a Russian immigrant, is hoping he will be voted in as councilman in the 24th District, while his Democratic opponent, Rory Lancman, is ready to go from state to city office.
The two will face off on Tuesday for the seat now held by Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who is being term-limited out of office.
The district includes Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates and parts of Jamaica, Flushing, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Rego Park. It is home territory for Lancman, who represented part of the area as assemblyman for six years until 2012.
Lancman had originally hoped to fill the 6th Congressional District seat that was vacated by Rep. Gary Ackerman last year.He lost to Assembly colleague Grace Meng, who eventually won the general election.
He believes his serving in Albany and name recognition will boost him to victory this time. “The fact that I navigated the Albany process and passed legislation can only help me in serving my constituents,” he told the Chronicle when he announced his candidacy.
The attorney says if elected his goals are to provide more effective oversight of municipal finances and try to make the city more affordable. “Let’s try to reduce the cost of basic needs, like affordable housing, transportation, education and try to lift the wages of ordinary New Yorkers,” he said following his September primary victory.
Lancman is also concerned about the need to negotiate all the city’s expired 150 union contracts. “We’re going to have to confront the irresponsible mess that is being left to us by having every single union’s collective bargaining agreement expire with not a penny set aside for those contracts,” he said.
First-time candidate Blishteyn is also an attorney and calls himself “a citizen candidate.” He moved to the United States with his family when he was 2 years old, appreciates how this country welcomed them and now wants to give back.
If elected, the candidate wants to rein in the power of the Mayor’s Office concerning such issues as “how much salt and soda you can have” without input from the City Council.
He would reduce taxes on working families by not “nickel and diming” them with unnecessary fees and by giving new incentives to small businesses.
Blishteyn would give more parents a choice of where to send their children to school through a voucher program or city tax credit for private school tuition.
Lancman has been endorsed by Jobs for New York, a real estate group, the Queens Democratic Party and numerous unions, while Blishteyn has the support of the Queens Republican Party.