The Queens County Republican Party screening panel endorsed independent candidate Tony Arcabascio on Saturday for state Senate in the 12th Senatorial District.
“Tony as a business executive and technology professional is a ‘can do’ problem solver who can help tackle the problems our community and state are facing,” Queens County Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa said.
“As an independent I am really honored that the Republican Party will support me for state Senate and agrees with my focus on jump-starting the economy, creating jobs, improving schools and healthcare and reforming government to make it more transparent and accountable,” Arcabascio said.
Arcabascio will run — if not challenged in the primary — against state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria). Gianaris was elected to the 12th District in 2010 with 81 percent of the vote.
Both Gianaris, a Greek-American, and Arcabascio, an Italian-American, were born in Astoria and both grew up in the area.
Arcabascio has worked as a businessman primarily within the technology sector for the last 25 years. He owned Crimson Technology, a consulting business, for 13 years. Due to the economic climate he and his partner closed the business in 2009.
He now is a senior project manager at North Shore LIJ, where he oversees projects to turn paper medical records digital.
Arcabascio said he will focus on healthcare and job creation. It concerns him that there is only one hospital in the district, Mount Sinai Hospital, he said.
Nearby is Elmhurst Hospital. St. John’s Hospital, also in Elmhurst, closed in 2009.
He also supports legislation that requires telecommunications companies to have a call center in the state they are based in and would pursue similar legislation.
“We need them to keep our jobs here. We give them franchises. It’s not right that they take our dollars and pay for services out of state and outside of the country,” Arcabascio said.
He and the QGOP are critical of Gianaris for focusing on what they call liberal legislation instead of focusing on jobs.
Gianaris’ campaign office declined comment about the QGOP’s statement.
Gianaris served as state assemblyman in the 36th District before being elected to the state Senate. As a state senator, he has pushed to redistrict the city, pass the Marriage Equality Act to allow same-sex marriages, work on a series of post 9-11 public safety measures including increased protection of power plants and advocate for better environmental protection.
“I am incredibly proud of the work I have done representing western Queens in the state legislature,” Gianaris said. “From shutting down the state’s biggest polluters to supporting our local schools to promoting local businesses that create much needed jobs, together we have made a big difference improving people’s lives.”