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Queens Chronicle

Turner acclimates to life in Congress

Casts first vote in Boeing labor case, lands criticism from boro pol

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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:37 pm, Thu Sep 29, 2011.

When U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn) woke up the morning of Sept. 14 as the 9th Congressional District’s newest legislator, he could not take much time to recuperate from the long days of campaigning and his victory party that lasted into the early morning hours.

That day, he and his family were whisked down to Washington DC, where U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), speaker of the House of Representatives, swore him in on Thursday as the first Republican to represent the 9th Congressional District since the 1920s.

Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) in a special election last week for the seat previously held by Anthony Weiner.

“It’s with true humility that I accept this awesome responsibility,” Turner said Thursday during his first time speaking on the House floor. “And I pledge not to forget how I got here. It was an important bipartisan election — that’s the only way it can be done in New York City.”

While Turner has been welcomed with open arms by fellow House Republicans, particularly U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island), who essentially emceed Turner’s victory party at Roma View in Howard Beach on election night, Queens Democrats have already sounded their displeasure with the legislator from the Rockaways.

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) held a press conference at his Hillcrest office on Friday to denounce Turner’s vote for the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act, which passed on Thursday.

The bill, if passed by the U.S. Senate, would bar the Obama administration from preventing the Boeing aircraft company from building new jets in South Carolina at non-union facilities.

Based in Washington state, Boeing wants to build some planes in South Carolina following a series of union strikes again the company over the years in Washington.

“My new congressman’s honeymoon ended when his first vote in Washington was to undermine basic worker protections and enable companies to outsource American jobs overseas,” said Lancman, chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety.

But William O’Reilly, a spokesman for Turner, said the bill was about job creation, not retaliating against union workers.

“People need to get back to work in this country and that is going to require eliminating or suspending job-killing regulations,” O’Reilly said. “Citizen Turner became Congressman Turner for that very reason — to knock off the political nonsense and get this economy moving again.”

Following his first moments in the nation’s capitol, he returned home to Queens for a brief visit.

Turner met with Mayor Bloomberg at the Cross Bay Diner in Howard Beach on Monday, during which time Turner reportedly received advice on how to survive the political world from Bloomberg, who did not endorse any candidate for the seat.

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