After endorsing Grace Meng for Congress, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced Monday that he would seek re-election to his redistricted seat.
Last week, after Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-Queens, Nassau) said he would retire when his term expires in January, Avella said he was interested in the position. He told the Queens Chronicle it was always his dream to serve in Washington, DC.
When the Queens Democratic Party selected Meng, an assemblywoman from Flushing, to run for Ackerman’s seat, Avella, 60, was left with a dilemma. His new senatorial district pits him against his mentor and old friend Sen. Toby Stavisky.
The redistricting plan basically combined the bulk of Avella’s and Stavisky’s districts. She has refused to comment on her plans, waiting for a decision on a lawsuit filed by the Senate Democrats against the redistricting. No date has been given as to when it will be addressed.
The political consulting firm Avella uses, The Parkside Group, also represents Stavisky and is headed by her son, Evan Stavisky. Neither elected official would comment on the implications, should Toby Stavisky, 73, decide to run again.
But Monday, Avella pledged to continue to work for the people of the 11th Senatorial District. “Since taking office, I have served this district faithfully, through bipartisan legislative efforts, an unbridled defense of our neighborhoods from harmful overdevelopment and unparalleled constituent services,” he said.
He noted that he has authored and introduced more than 50 bills and cosponsored many others. “In doing so I reached across the aisle to cosponsor over 200 bills, which is more than double the amount cosponsored by any of my Senate colleagues,” Avella said. “I look forward to continuing this spirit of bipartisanship in an effort to truly accomplish what needs to be done for the greater good of New York State.”
He indicated that when he ran against longtime incumbent Republican Frank Padavan, 77, two years ago, he ran on a platform of reform and good government “and while we have accomplished a great deal during my first term, we still have a long way to go to reform Albany.”
The county Republicans have not picked a challenger yet, but Flushing activist Sunny Hahn is interested and Padavan’s name has also been mentioned.