Saying that she is the best choice for the job, retiring Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-Queens, Nassau) endorsed Flushing Assemblywoman Grace Meng for the newly created 6th Congressional District seat on Tuesday outside the Pomonok Senior Center.
Although the new district only covers 37 percent of Ackerman’s domain, his support is seen as important. Since Meng has the backing of the Queens Democratic Party, virtually every other elected Democratic official has already endorsed her.
“When the baton is passed in November, I hope it’s Grace Meng,” the congressman said, noting that the two of them share similar, though different, backgrounds.
Ackerman, 69, who announced his retirement in March, said both he and Meng had parents who came from another country and worked hard to make sure their children had a better education.
He noted that Meng had selected Pomonok for the announcement because Ackerman grew up in the city housing project. “My parents held my bar mitzvah celebration right here in this building,” he said.
He pointed to Meng’s “style, maturity, and level-headedness,” adding that the other Democratic contenders are “all good people, but we have a choice,” Ackerman said.
Others running for the seat are Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Dr. Robert Mittman, a Bayside physician. The winner of the June 26 primary will face Republican Councilman Dan Halloran of Whitestone in the November election.
Ackerman said Meng’s qualifications, abilities and temperament “are head and shoulders over the other candidates.” He called her “a workhorse,” who has the ability to get things done.
“We need champions in Washington,” Ackerman added. “She’s a quiet champion.”
Bessie Zillas of Auburndale, a senior citizen, came out to support Meng at the announcement. “We need someone strong like that,” Zillas said
Following the press conference, Ackerman denied to a City & State reporter that his support was based on his part ownership of the Queens Tribune, which is affiliated with Multi-Media, a political consulting firm working for Meng. He said he owns a minority interest in the business and that it has nothing to do with his endorsement.
Also on Tuesday, Lancman was endorsed by former city Public Advocate Mark Green. He had previously gottens the support of former Mayor Ed Koch.