Jerry Iannece said he would focus on increasing the minimum wage, pushing for the passage of the DREAM Act and campaign finance reform in .
The long-time chairman, who previously ran for City Council in 2001 and 2009, will compete with , the former chief of staff to Manhattan Assembly Brian Kavanagh, in the Democratic primary for state Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s, D-Fresh Meadows, seat on Sept. 13.
Iannece said he has already picked up endorsements in the race from the Queens County Democratic Party as well as a number of elected officials, including city Comptroller John Liu, City Councilman Mark Weprin, D-Oakland Gardens, and state Assemblywoman and congressional candidate Grace Meng, D-Flushing.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Iannece said of the Assembly district. “As chairman of the community board, I know all the civic and community leaders. It’s been an incredible training ground. Most people who run are political insiders. But I think I come with a fresh look and civic perspective.”
Iannece said he believed one of the most important issues for the district this year is .
“Right now, it’s passed in the Assembly, but was shot down in the Republican Senate,” he said. “I think it has to be indexed so that it goes up incrementally. If you just increase, it will be obsolete again in a few years.”
He also said he planned to push for the passage of the DREAM Act, which would provide permanent residency to immigrants who graduate from high school in the United States, arrived in the country as minors and lived in the U.S. continuously for five years’ prior to the bill’s enactment.
“I’m the product of first-generation immigrants and I know what it’s like to grow up in a home where the parents don’t speak English,” said Iannece, whose parents moved to the U.S. from Italy in the 1950s. “The idea of the DREAM Act is to allow people who are here through no fault of their own to receive benefits that the country has to offer. It would get them on the tax role and allow them to contribute.”
Iannece said he would also push for campaign finance reform if elected to the Assembly.
“Most people have lost their faith in government because elected officials because of the obscene amount of money that has to be raised to run for office,” he said. “Campaign finance reform would go a long way to establishing transparency, setting caps on the amount that can be spent by a candidate and leveling the playing field by eliminating a lot of special interest groups and lobbyists.”
On a local level, Iannece said top priorities were improving education at northeast Queens schools and retaining resources for community police precincts.
“The mayor has demoralized teachers and decimated schools,” Iannece said. “I’d like to see class sizes decreased and mayoral control lessened.”
He said the 25th Assembly district also suffers from a lack of transportation alternatives.
“There are no subways and the Long Island Rail Road goes right down the center of the district,” he said. “All we have are some buses and several of those lines have not been restored.”
The Assembly district’s borders are College Point Boulevard, the , Union Turnpike and Northern Boulevard.
It covers Bayside Hills, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Auburndale, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Queensborough Hill and a sliver of Bayside as well as includes three police precincts – the 107th, 109th and .
Drop by Bayside Patch later this week for an interview with 25th Assembly District Democratic candidate Nily Rozic.
And keep an eye out for upcoming pieces on Republican contenders in the race – Abe Fuchs, a retired postal worker from Kew Gardens Hills, and William Garifal Jr., a Flushing-based Internet marketer.