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Braunstein says he’ll fight for locals

Bayside’s Edward Braunstein said his seven years of work at state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s (D-Manhattan) office has given him insight into how Albany operates that would benefit him if he is elected to replace Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) this fall.

Braunstein, 29, who has served on Community Board 11 for more than one year, has worked at Silver’s district office in Manhattan since 2003 and currently acts as a legislative assistant.

“I’m a lifelong Bayside resident and I want to be involved in local issues,” he said. “Northeast Queens is a special place. I’ve worked with the Assembly for a number of years. I see the problems that confront the state and I understand what needs to be fixed.”

Braunstein will face off against three Democrats in the September primary, including Bayside attorney Steve Behar, who ran for former City Councilman Tony Avella’s seat last year; John Duane, a former assemblyman in the district and brother of state Sen. John Duane (D-Manhattan); and Whitestone attorney Elio Forcina.

Two Republicans are also vying for Carrozza’s seat: Vince Tabone, who works as an attorney for John Catsimitidis’ Manhattan-based Red Apple Group, and Rob Speranza, a former city police officer who challenged the assemblywoman in 2008.

Braunstein has been endorsed by the Queens County Democratic Party, while Tabone has already been picked by the Queens County Republican Party.

Carrozza announced earlier this year she would not run for re-election.

Braunstein said he would work in a bipartisan manner with members of both parties in his district, which covers Bayside, Little Neck, Whitestone and Douglaston.

“I think everyone needs to get together to push for reform,” he said. “People are stealing money and there are all sorts of ethics problems. I think there are people who think when they get to Albany they should shout and scream. But they won’t change history in a day.”

His top campaign issues would be Albany reform, education, quality-of-life issues, fighting overdevelopment and services for seniors.

Braunstein said he believed Albany’s out-of-control spending could be curtailed by eliminating state agencies and public authorities through governmental consolidation as well as fighting Medicaid fraud.

Improvements to city School Districts 25 and 26, which are considered among the city’s best, would be a local priority.

“Our schools are operating at 140 percent,” he said. “They keep putting trailers in school yards and kids are having lunch at 10 a.m. It’s ridiculous.”

He also believes quality-of-life issues are often overlooked in the district, especially the upkeep of sites such as Crocheron Park, and vows to be vigilant in preventing northeast Queens from being overdeveloped.

But while Braunstein said Albany needs to reduce its spending, there are certain items he believes should not be cut from the budget.

“One area that’s off the table for me is seniors,” he said. “With budget cuts, there are always threats to senior centers and Meals on Wheels programs.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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