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Ferraro endorses Katz for comptroller

Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate from a major party and a former Forest Hills resident, has thrown her support behind City Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s (D−Forest Hills) bid for city comptroller.

Ferraro, who lived in Forest Hills before moving to her current home in Manhattan, endorsed Katz Dec. 16.

“Our city is facing steep economic challenges,” Ferraro said in a prepared statement. “The next comptroller will play a critical role in reinvigorating our local economy, creating jobs and protecting our future. Melinda Katz has the experience and intelligence that our next comptroller will need to shepherd this city through the tough challenges we are facing.”

Katz voted for the extension of term limits, but did not drop her bid for comptroller to run for a third Council term. Despite speculation that current City Comptroller William Thompson may once again make a bid for his current seat, Thompson remains in the mayoral race and just last week launched his official campaign Web site.

Along with Katz, Councilman David Weprin (D−Hollis), Councilman David Yassky (D−Brooklyn) and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion have all jumped into the race for comptroller. Carrion, however, may be leaving the race to take a job in Washington, D.C. as the White House’s director of urban planning.

Ferraro, a lawyer who once worked for the Queens district attorney’s office, has supported Katz in her prior runs for City Council. Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the 1984 election. Ferraro and Mondale were defeated by incumbent President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush.

The two have known each other for years, according to Katz.

Katz “has shown leadership as the chair of the City Council’s Land Use Committee and has the right background for the job,” Ferraro said in her statement. “Given her work in the Council, her experience as an Assembly member and her training as a mergers and acquisitions attorney for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, she can excel in the role as city comptroller during the difficult times the city is facing.”

Katz said she was honored to have Ferraro’s support.

“This is one of the endorsements we’ve been steadily picking up for the last several months,” Katz said. “Geraldine and I have known each other for 20 years. She was a constituent in Forest Hills, her children grew up in the neighborhood, we have a good, long−standing relationship.”

Ferraro has garnered other endorsements from eight unions, including the Plumbers Local Union No. 1, UFCW Region 1 and UFCW Local 1500. More than 12 elected officials have endorsed Katz, including state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D−Forest Hills) and U.S. Rep. Yvette Clark (D−Brooklyn).

According to the most recent Campaign Finance Board filing in July, Katz has raised about $2.1 million, Weprin $1.9 million, Yassky $1.4 million and Carrion $2.3 million.

Weprin said he plans to announce his endorsements in January.

“I feel good about the race,” Weprin said. “I feel my financial background is superior to the other candidates.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

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