Calling himself “an outsider,” Democrat Elio Forcina hopes voters are ready for a change in the race to replace to 26th District Assemblywoman Ann Carrozza, who is retiring at the end of her term.
He will have to get enough valid signatures on his petition to make the primary ballot in a race that has three other Democratic hopefuls: Steve Behar, a Bayside attorney, John Duane, a lawyer from Douglaston who held in the seat in the 1980s and Ed Braunstein, who works for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and has the Queens Democratic organization endorsement.
Forcina, 39, is an attorney in Whitestone, where he lives. His reason for running is wanting to help people. “I can alleviate their suffering,” he said. “The main thing is providing great constituent service, which I feel is lacking in the community.”
The candidate grew up in Glendale, attended Christ the King High School, and is a graduate of Queens College and Touro Law School. He is in private practice, dealing in civil litigation.
Forcina believes his past experience puts him above the other candidates. He served in the Marines and has traveled all over the world. “I’m also the only family man and have a 4-year-old daughter,” he said. “I know what it’s like to be late for a mortgage payment, waiting for the birth of a child and training for war.”
Early in his career he worked as a community coordinator for the city Department of Sanitation and an aide to the city Charter Commission. He also worked for seven years with Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio of Richmond Hill. Seminerio was found guilty of taking bribes last year and sentenced to six years in prison. “I pray for him,” Forcina said. “I didn’t know what he was doing.”
Forcina believes in term limits for both state and city government with a 12-year limit and the option to run again after two years. “It is not in the best interest of voters when officials become entrenched,” he said.
If elected, the candidate wants to lower property taxes and help seniors by granting them multiple discounts on services such as transportation and utilities. “They suffer and there are a lot of seniors in the community,” he said.
Forcina believes in providing loans or grants to small businesses to keep people working, and reducing Medicaid fraud, which would free up money without raising taxes.
He also wants more transparency in government. “They are putting their careers in Albany over the people and they don’t want to challenge the speaker. I’m a party outsider and I believe everyone should be part of the process.”
Forcina is energized by the number of candidates running for the seat. There will even be a Republican primary between Vince Tabone, the GOP designee, and Rob Speranza, who previously ran for the seat.
“More issues come out when there’s more of a choice of candidates,” “Forcina said.
He’s in the race “for the long haul” and said he will be competitive in fundraising. “I’m an untraditional candidate, so I’ll run an untraditional race,” Forcina added. “I’m an outsider, but so was Congressman Joe Crowley once.”
The 26th District includes Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Bay Terrace, Whitestone and East Flushing.