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Queens Chronicle

3 vie for state Senate nod in Dem. primary

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Posted: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:00 am

Democratic voters will choose among three candidates for the 16th State Senate District seat in next Tuesday’s primary election.

The incumbent, Toby Stavisky, 72, of Flushing, was first elected to the Senate to fill the seat of her late husband, Leonard, in 1999 and has been re-elected ever since.

A former high school teacher, she was the first Queens woman elected to the state Senate and is chairwoman of its Committee on Higher Education.

She supports strict campaign finance reform and favors a nonpartisan redistricting commission to “help take the politics out of drawing district lines.”

Challenger Isaac Sasson, 69, of Flushing, a retired scientist, says he is not a career politician and will never be beholden to political bosses and special interests “that have made a mockery of state government.”

Sasson ran for John Liu’s City Council seat last year and also ran unsuccessfully in 2003 for the same position. In 2007, he won $13 million in the Quick Pick lottery, started a foundation and since then donates funds to area nonprofit groups.

A newcomer to the political scene is the third candidate, John Messer, 39, of Oakland Gardens, who practices law in Garden City, LI. Like Sasson, he believes voters are fed up with the dysfunctional state Legislature and wants someone new to represent them.

The 16th District includes College Point, Flushing,Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Rego Park and parts of Bayside, Forest Hills and Elmhurst.

Welcome to the discussion.