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Queens Chronicle

Familiar face joins 19th Dem primary

Chrissy Voskerichian touts civic work and focuses on public safety

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:36 am, Thu Jun 6, 2013.

The already crowded Democratic primary race for the 19th Council District recently grew by one, with the addition of civic activist and former chief of staff to embattled Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) Chrissy Voskerichian.

The 51-year-old touts what she considers a bevy of experience, both through her work as the co-founder of the Station Road Civic Association, president of the 109th Precinct Community Council, and yes, the time spent in Halloran’s office.

Voskerichian surprised some when she announced her candidacy on April 30, but the lifelong Auburndale resident said members of the community persuated her to run.

“I was encouraged by civic leaders and community leaders,” she said. “I thought about it for a while. It took me a couple of weeks, but I decided, ‘Why not, I’ll throw my hat into the ring.’”

Voskerichian believes she shares many values with the people of the 19th Council District, particularly a focus on public safety. The time she’s spent with the Precinct Community Council has taught her the intricacies of one of the city’s geographically largest precincts.

But her tenure in Halloran’s office has taught her the value of keeping an ear open to her potential constituents. For good or ill, the outbound incumbent developed a knack for keeping himself available, whether via social media or an open line at his district office. It’s a practice Voskerichian said snowballed into a thriving district office, with responsiveness begetting more constituent phone calls.

“It was through word of mouth we kept getting more constituents and more constituents,” she said. “We treated everybody’s issue as a priority, as a No. 1 concern. It speaks volumes that everyone is connecting.”

Voskerichian said that spirit of connectedness and emphasis on constituent services would continue, should she get past the Sept. 10 primary and win the general election. It’s a responsiveness she hopes will reverberate up into the halls of city power.

From the budget, to variances and overdevelopment, the Flushing native says the city’s decision-making flows counter to residents’ needs.

“We do this from month to month,” she said of dealing with municipal headaches. “We get blown away at the Board of Standards and Appeals, and I’m very, very upset and tired every year when it comes to the budget.

“Some of the issues, we are going to have to move a mountain. Some of them, we’re going to have to get to that bridge and build it. In other cases, we would have to close that gap.”

Voskerichian is entering a race already flush with candidates, numbering five in total. And she’s the only one coming into the race with a direct connection to the embattled incumbent.

But the work she did for Halloran doesn’t tarnish her chances, she said, often differentiating herself by simply saying “My name is Chrissy.”

“I plan to win with hard work, with determination, with getting out, meeting more and more people every day, getting out my message, my platform, what I am about,” she said, pointing to existing support in the community. “There was such an outpouring of ‘I want you to do this.’”

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