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Queens Chronicle

Lancman handily defeats opponents

Former assemblyman wins Dem. primary for 24th City Council seat

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:17 am, Thu Sep 19, 2013.

It came as no surprise to supporters of the former assemblyman and now 24th District City Council candidate that Rory Lancman won the Democratic primary.

With a projected win of 61.7 percent, he and his supporters packed into a hot, rented room at the Electchester Shopping Center to celebrate his victory on Tuesday night.

Lancman, who served in the Assembly for six years until 2012, beat Andrea Veras, who took in 21.1 percent of the vote, and Mujib Rahman, with 17.2 percent. He will face Republican Alex Blishteyn in the November election.

The winner thanked his supporters and voters in the primary. “I am enormously grateful,” Lancman said. “It’s been an interesting 30 years of community service.”

Lancman is hoping to succeed Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who is term-limited out of his seat.

“It really is an extraordinary time in city government. All of city government is turning over,” Lancman said. “The one consistent thing that I’ve heard from voters … this is a real opportunity with this wholesale change in government, to really change the priorities of the City of New York.”

He said the main issue he will focus on if he wins will be to make the city an affordable place again for New Yorkers.

“Everything in New York City is disproportionally more expensive than the rest of the country,” Lancman said. “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, whether they are wage earners or small-business owners.”

On housing, he said he would expand rent regulations, make sure big projects include affordable housing components and increase the city’s support for affordable housing through loan guarantees and rehabilitation debt.

Regarding transportation, he said “the city and the state have terribly disinvested from the MTA and that’s why our fares continue to go up.”

Another issue he discussed was the expiration of the city’s roughly 150 union contracts under Mayor Bloomberg. Lancman said he hopes that whoever the new mayor is will immediately get on the issue.

“One of the first things we’re going to have to confront in the City Council is the irresponsible mess that is being left to us by having every single union collective bargaining agreement expire with not a penny set aside for those contractors,” he said. “It’s grossly irresponsible and it’s something we’re going to have to deal with.”

Though local issues were what Lancman said would be his main focus, he still had thoughts on the debate about what should be done concerning Syria and its chemical weapons. He said he heard President Obama’s live address to the nation on the radio. The president in his speech continued to make the case for intervention, but also approaching Syria with more diplomacy.

“I think it’s important that the United States act,” he said.

Lancman’s supporters made it clear why they chose to back him.

“He’s a hard worker and he’s effective,” said Kevin Forrestal, president of the Hillcrest Estates Civic Association. “I’m very pleased that he’s won. He will be a fantastic city councilman.”

Andrew Neuhaus, from Fresh Meadows, said he’s happy that Lancman has never left the neighborhood. “He could’ve left and forgotten about Queens,” he said. “I’m looking forward to see what kind of changes he can make, hopefully for the best.”

The 24th District includes Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates and parts of Jamaica, Flushing, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Rego Park.

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