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Queens Chronicle

Speranza says to vote for candidate, not party

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Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:00 am

In an already crowded race to fill Ann Carrozza’s Assembly seat, Rob Speranza is one of two Republican candidates hoping to wrest the seat from Democrats.

There are four Democrats vying for the 26th District seat and assuming Speranza gets 500 valid signatures, he must face Vince Tabone in the Republican primary. Tabone, an attorney, has been endorsed by the Queens Republican Party and all major borough GOP members, including state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), as well as the Conservative and Libertarian parties.

But Speranza, 42, a retired police officer, says he’s up to the challenge. “I am sticking to my goal of running,” he said. “I’m talking to the people and I’ve lived in Bayside all my life, so people know me.”

His main goal, if elected, is to fight fraud in the state such as Medicaid and food stamps. “There is no money in the state to do anything now,” Speranza said. “Money is the key, so we need whistleblowers on fraud and to put that money back in the state.”

The candidate indicated he had “a mission” in running against Carrozza two years ago and feels compelled to run again. He lost by an almost two-to-one margin.

The 26th District includes East Flushing, Bayside, Douglaston, Whitestone, Little Neck, Bay Terrace and Floral Park. Carrozza announced in April she would not seek re-election to the seat she has held since 1996.

Candidates on the Democratic side are the county’s party’s pick, Ed Braunstein, who works for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; Bayside attorney Steve Behar; Whitestone lawyer Elio Forcina and Douglaston lawyer John Duane, who held the seat for two years and was defeated for re-election in 1984.

A police officer for 16 years, Speranza retired in 2007 after being injured. He is a graduate of St. John’s University.

While serving with the NYPD, he worked in Harlem and Queens. For the past six years he has been a member of Community Board 11.

Speranza had no statement to make on his opponent Tabone, saying he doesn’t know enough about him to comment.

However, he added it’s up to the people to decide the victor. “It’s not about the party; it’s about the person,” he said.

Tabone offered the following statement on Speranza: “He’s a nice guy. I’ve worked with him on campaign issues and I wish him well.”

Tabone says he has already garnered 1,500 signatures on petitions to get on the primary ballot and raised $90,000. Speranza said he would start his fundraising in earnest later in the summer and is working on getting signatures before the deadline in July.

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