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Tabone sets sights on Assembly

Bayside Republican Vince Tabone said he will draw from his long history of community service to seek improvements for district schools and fight overdevelopment in his bid to challenge state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) this fall for her seat.

Tabone, 43, who lives in Bayside and works as an attorney for John Catsimatidis’ Manhattan-based Red Apple Group, has already raised more than $23,000 to challenge Carrozza, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1996, according to state campaign finance records.

He said he would make a top priority of obtaining funds to improve schools in District 26, which is the highest-ranked academically in the city.

“It’s the best school district in New York, which is one of the reasons my wife and I moved to the area,” he said. “But there are some problems. Partly because of its own success, we get punished by the city. They take money away from us. If you do more poorly, the city throws more money at you. It’s nonsensical. They should be rewarding success.”

The assembly district covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and Whitestone and includes District 25 schools, which are ranked second best in the city.

Tabone previously served on Community District Education Council 26, which covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and Glen Oaks as well as sections of Bellerose and Queens Village, and currently serves on the 111th Precinct Community Council.

He previously served in the city Economic Development Corp. under Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg as well as working as general counsel for the state, overseeing litigation, corporate and contracting matters for insolvent insurers, under Govs. George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer.

Tabone said other campaign issues on which he will focus include overdevelopment and initiatives to combat the economic downturn.

“Quality-of-life issues are very important to our community,” he said. “People are concerned that the overdevelopment here is unsustainable and out of character.”

He criticized Carrozza, citing her attendance record in Albany and a story that broke last year that the assemblywoman had been living out of the district at a property she and her husband own in Glen Head, L.I., between March and June before moving back to the district in July.

Assembly records show Carrozza had excused absences for 44 days, or 64 percent of the time, during 2009’s legislative days.

“The incumbent has a record that is one of absenteeism from the district,” Tabone said. “If most of us showed up only 36 percent of the time, our employers would give us pink slips. She’s voted to raise the taxes on the middle class and small businesses. We need someone who has a stake in the community.”

Carrozza accused Tabone of “misrepresenting” her attendance record.

“This district has a long history of being a fair fight district and I think that the more people who run for office in the district and the more ideas that are out there is a good thing,” she said. “My attendance record is 87 percent, which is the average attendance, during my tenure in Albany. I think attendance is a fair issue, but if the candidate is going to highlight attendance records, they need to do it accurately.”

Tabone was scheduled to host fund-raiser at the 30th Avenue American Legion Post in Astoria this week and another at Harry’s Steakhouse in Manhattan this Thursday. His campaign’s first official fund-raiser will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at Bayside’s Bourbon Street at 40-12 Bell Blvd.

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and the Queens County Republican Party have already officially endorsed Tabone.

“Vince has been a strong leader for our kids’ education, protecting our local environment and preserving and improving our community’s character and quality of life,” Padavan said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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