Austin Shafran, who recently served as the vice president of public relations for Empire State Development, has officially thrown his hat into the already-crowded race for Councilman Dan Halloran’s seat.
Shafran kicked off his campaign on Feb. 19 at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center, where he was joined by more than 100 supporters as well as U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-Jackson Heights, state Assemblyman David Weprin, D-Little Neck, Councilman Mark Weprin, D-Oakland Gardens, and Queens Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik.
“I’m running to make the community I’ve lived in and loved my entire life a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Shafran. “From improving our schools to protecting our neighborhoods, to creating jobs and reducing taxes for middle class families, we must do better. And I have the right experience to make city government work for us.”
Prior to serving at Empire State Development, which is the state’s chief economic development agency, Shafran worked for former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, then-Councilman David Weprin and the New York State Senate Democrats.
He was elected a democratic district leader for northeast Queens in 2012.
Halloran, R-Whitestone, launched his re-election campaign earlier this month.
Shafran will face off in the Democratic primary against Paul Vallone, who is the brother of Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., D-Astoria, as well as former state Assemblyman John Duane and Democratic state committeeman Matthew Silverstein.
The district covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, College Point, Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Malba, Whitestone and a section of Flushing.